Switzerland and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) held an approach on Wednesday in the pursuit of opportunities so that the European country collaborates with Latin America and the Caribbean in agricultural matters.
The Secretary of State and General Director of Switzerland's Federal Office of Agriculture, Bernard Lehmann, met the Deputy Director of IICA, Lloyd Day; the director of Technical Cooperation, Federico Villareal, and the director of Foreign and Institutional Relations, Beverly Best.
The meeting's aim was to strengthen ties between Switzerland and the hemisphere countries, to promote sustainable food systems, and to define actions linked to the knowledge and technology transfer, IICA, based in Costa Rica, said in a statement.
"There are cooperation opportunities in agricultural research, being applied research the first step to advance. We can learn from each other by finding the mechanisms to produce with quality, we can learn from the other with the challenge of adapting to climate change," said Lehmann.
At the meeting at IICA headquarters, the Swiss representative pointed out that "there are similar problems among our agriculture" and commented that "ecological problems are universal and we have limited resources in terms of research."
For his part, the deputy director of IICA, Lloyd Day, said that Switzerland has had great cooperation with IICA and the region and the idea is to work "to develop initiatives with common interests that guarantee mutual benefit, strengthen the agricultural sector of the hemisphere, and have better food systems."
Switzerland maintains free trade agreements with Mexico, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and is in negotiations with Mercosur and the United States, said IICA.
The main agricultural and agro-industrial products that Switzerland imports are coffee and wine, which offers opportunities for the American continent's producers.
"The agriculture of Switzerland and Europe, as well as that of Latin America and the Caribbean, is based on family farming. There are many instances in which we can cooperate, transforming the way we produce and consume food so that the ecosystem is productive for the next generations," said Lehmann.
IICA highlighted the broad agricultural tradition and the Swiss technological resources, which, added to their willingness to cooperate, "represent a valuable opportunity to complement the efforts made by IICA in favor of the agriculture's productive development".