Experts urged this Friday the countries of Latin America and the caribbean to increase investment in science, technology and innovation to promote the development of agricultural sector.
“The region invests little, in general, in agricultural research, in relation to the contribution of agriculture to GDP, employment and the importance of food exports from countries. Given the economic and social value of the sector, there is no reason for public research budgets to continue to decline,” said Rubén Echeverría, Senior Advisor for Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The expert was one of the more than 100 participants in the “Regional dialogue on science, technology and innovation in the agri-food systems of Latin America and the Caribbean”, an event that took place in Costa Rica and organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the global research alliance for a future with food security CGIAR, and the World Bank.
The researcher in agricultural and rural development, Eugenio Díaz Bonilla, said that the average investment in Latin America in science, technology and innovation in agriculture is located at 1.4% of the income generated by food production, when in developed countries the index is approximately between 3% and 4%.
“We must work to redirect funds based on our objectives. We have to think about how we finance projects, but also see other possibilities, such as the generation of green bonds or even other types of bonds, depending on the goals”, he expressed.
The international experts who participated in the forum agreed that the conditions exist for Latin America and the Caribbean to increase their investment in research aimed at transforming the agri-food systems.
They affirmed that it is a path that is essential to follow if the objective is to move towards a more sustainable agriculture, which strengthens the role of the region as guarantor of the planet’s food and environmental security.