Buenos Aires, September 25, 2013 (IICA)- A number of important decisions were taken at the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2013, which is taking place in Argentina. Two of the most important involve pledges to develop and consolidate the participation of the ministries of agriculture in the definition of policies for integrated water resources management, and to promote long-term strategies designed to foster the sustainable use of water to produce food, fibers and raw materials.
During the three-day meeting, organized by the Government of Argentina with assistance from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the ministers and heads of delegation adopted the Declaration Argentina 2013. One of the main points highlighted in the document is the fact that the availability of water – a finite resource – is vital to increase agricultural productivity, which is the key to improving food security in the Americas.
The ministers also acknowledge that agriculture faces major challenges in contributing to development with social inclusion, and that the demand for water is not limited to the sector, since it is needed for human consumption, industry, energy generation and other activities.
The countries therefore pledge to strengthen the capabilities of the ministries of agriculture, so they are better equipped to work with other sectors to improve water management.
In the declaration, they also urge IICA’s Member States to foster the implementation of national and regional programs designed to increase innovation and technology transfer for the sustainable use of water in agriculture.
They also state that the agricultural sector can propose innovative solutions to improve the management of water. With that purpose in mind, the Institute’s member countries pledged to strengthen innovation in production systems throughout the agrifood chain, with a view to improving management of the water used in rainfed and irrigated agriculture.
The signatories also tasked IICA and other international organizations with spearheading, coordinating and supporting a technical cooperation program aimed at promoting the integrated management of water in agriculture, which will include institutional capacity building.
The ministers and heads of delegation recognized that the integrated management of water in agriculture contributes to the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, but needs to be based on scientific principles and reflect the legal framework, traditions and customs of each country.
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