US Secretary of Agriculture and Director General of IICA reviewed collaboration agenda focused on agricultural health and the well-being of rural communities
Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture; and Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA

San Jose, 5 August 2021 (IICA) – Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), met with Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture, to discuss issues related to agricultural health, including the detection of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic and the situation facing Central America’s Northern Triangle.

As part of the close collaboration between the USDA and IICA, the discussion also focused on the process leading up to the UN Food Systems Summit and the development of programs like “Living Soils of the Americas” and digital rural extension, which could benefit the region encompassing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, an area characterized by extreme social, economic and environmental vulnerability.

Additionally, Secretary Vilsack was invited by the Director General of IICA to participate in the upcoming Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, which will take place virtually on 1-2 September.

The Conference will host the sessions of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA)—IICA’s highest governing body consisting of the Ministers and Secretaries of the Institute’s 34 Member States.

“The meeting revealed the collaborative agenda between IICA and USDA focused on key issues. One of those is agricultural health and the concern for the eruption of registered cases of African swine fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic”, commented the Director General of IICA, upon conclusion of the meeting.

In the meeting, Manuel Otero thanked the USDA for its support on the road to the Summit—which enabled the hemispheric dialogues in which the countries of the Americas reached a consensus regarding the global forum—and underscored the importance of IICA-sponsored programs, including “Living Soils of the Americas” and rural digital extension, with the aim to better conditions so that small-scale farmers are able to improve their yields and income sustainably.

In addition to Otero and Secretary Vilsack, the meeting was attended, on behalf of IICA, by Lloyd Day, Deputy Director General; Horrys Friaca, Acting US Representative; and Jorge Werthein, Special Advisor to the Director General; and on behalf of the USDA, Daniel Whitley, Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator; and Donald Willar, International Trade Specialist with the Foreign Agricultural Service.

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Institutional Communication Division