During his speech, the minister highlighted the work of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in promoting and developing family farming.
San Jose, 4 October 2023 (IICA) – Defending democracy, reducing social inequality and overcoming the climate crisis are significant global challenges for which the solution may also come from the agriculture sector, affirmed Paulo Teixeira, Minister of Agricultural Development and Family Farming of Brazil, at the opening ceremony of the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2023, taking place in Costa Rica through 5 October.
Until the start of the meeting, Brazil served as Chair of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), comprised of the ministers of agriculture of the 34 Member States of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The IABA is IICA’s highest governing body.
During his speech, Teixeira recalled that in 2014, Brazil was able to remove itself from the hunger map, to which it has now returned, and said the country hopes to continue strengthening family farming through the production of healthy foods in harmony with the environment.
In this regard, the minister also highlighted the work of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in adopting nine new programs and three public food procurement programs from family farmers.
“One program is earmarked for school meals and ensures that the government buys from family farmers; there is a public procurement program for the Armed Forces; and a program for public hospitals and universities to buy from family farmers, thereby helping farmers and family farming to improve their income”, stated the minister.
“There is also the land titling program for Afro-Brazilians and a fifth program to provide financing to family farming for food production and to purchase machinery adapted to this type of agriculture”, he added.
Teixeira also spotlighted three additional programs: agricultural reform for the favelas; a program dubbed productive quintals to stimulate female production; and a youth program aimed at creating a sense of belonging to the countryside.
“We have launched countless programs to increase food production capacity and ensure food sovereignty in our country, which is why we want to learn about the experiences of other countries, to converse and improve, and join forces to defend democracy and reduce social inequality and the capacity to combat weather events”, assured the minister.
Teixeira also referred to the extreme weather events that have battered different regions of Brazil.
“We have suffered droughts—it has become impossible to navigate many rivers and the towns are affected by these events. We hope to see measures to reverse the climate crisis. In Brazil we have an environmental reforestation program to recover productive forests; every day we are developing solar energy and irrigation programs aimed at rural areas”, he expressed.
“We must think about the countries that are suffering from food insecurity and climate change in the region; we must help them to overcome these difficult times and guarantee their food security”, stated Teixeira.
The Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2023 is organized by IICA and held at its headquarters in San Jose. President Mohamed Irfaan Ali of Guyana and President Laurentino Cortizo of Panama also participated in the inauguration alongside Manuel Otero, Director General of the Institute.
Other participants included Alfredo Carrasco, leader of rurality from Chile; Víctor Carvajal, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica; Terry Branstad, CEO of the World Food Prize Foundation; Alejandro Solano, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica; and Milagro Martínez, Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Costa Rica.
Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Environment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), organizer of the upcoming COP 28, gave a speech via videoconference.
Institutional Communication Division.