A View of Ag’s Future – Latin America’s Farming Power
Victor M. Villalobos
General Director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
He has been at the helm of the institution since 2010. An expert in agriculture, genetics and natural resources, he analyzes the world agricultural scene, with a special focus on Latin America and its opportunities in the face of challenges in the sector.
There are many uncertainties to ensuring a stable food supply for the world’s growing population needs. Among the contributing factors that can be mentioned are climate change, economic, market and social factors – for example, related to migration. However, there are reasons for Latin America’s optimism in the face of challenge.
Across Latin America and the Caribbean agriculture is practiced differently. Some farms remain very traditional, while others are technologically advanced. Either way, access to knowledge, innovation, and certain types of technology is essential to be competitive. It is important to create a framework that supports farmers to be more efficient.
The profile of rural professionals is changing. We are experiencing a transition from tradition-based to knowledge-based agriculture, which involves the integration of multiple disciplines. Important efforts have been made to adapt the training of agricultural engineers and other rural professions. We need to be flexible to be able to meet the need for change.
Technical cooperation, in particular for small and midsize farmers, is extremely important. The IICA is very focused on enabling communications and facilitating the transfer of knowledge among the Latin American and Caribbean countries. We focus on practical activities to help increase productivity and create optimal conditions.
Collaboration - between the public and private sectors, and farmers - will contribute to the competitiveness of these countries. Access to knowledge and investments enables farmers to become more efficient and benefits the end consumer. It is no secret that knowledge means advancement.
These are particularly exciting times for agriculture. Technology is opening opportunities that will reshape the future of the business and will allow faster transfer and acquisition of knowledge. We need to collaborate to create the framework that brings about the changes that will accelerate innovation in our region. Latin America and the Caribbean have reasons to look ahead with optimism.