UN Food and Agriculture Organization regional conference

The 37th Latin America/Caribbean Regional Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concludes today. The

UN Food and Agriculture Organization

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concludes its regional conference in Quito, Ecuador – Photo: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The 37th Latin America/Caribbean Regional Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concludes today.

The five-day conference, held this year in Quito, Ecuador, is a forum in which high-ranking delegates from member states discuss challenges to agri-food systems, agri-food-related innovations, and sustainable agriculture policy. The resilience of the Latin American and Caribbean agri-food system is crucial because the region produces enough calories to feed 1.3 billion people.

With the war in Ukraine increasing the price of food and fertilizer, this FAO conference is timely. The new FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 establishes a plan to address these issues. It seeks to promote sustainable consumption and production, protect land and sea-based ecosystems, and support family farming–which accounts for 77.2% of agriculture in Latin America.

Latin America could theoretically increase its wheat production to make up for declines in Ukrainian production, however, expensive fertilizer could dampen this possibility. Another goal of the Framework is to implement digital agriculture and innovation, such as drones and Big Data crop problem-solving. This is a long-term goal, however, with the FAO having invested $3.8 billion in 43 projects over the last two years, UN involvement will likely propel the projects forward.

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