Capacity building, farmer empowerment, and securing the future of agriculture through Good Agricultural Practices were the key issues at this year’s VII International Forum CropLife Latin America, held on 6 May in Ecuador.

Organized to highlight the development of small and medium-sized agriculture and, in turn, promote the growth of competitive, sustainable and responsible farming, the forum was attended by leading national and international key figures, including the Minister of Industry and Productivity, Economist Ramiro González.  Mr. González was recognized for implementing and supporting policies that have improved the infrastructure as well as contributing to supply chain and agricultural productivity in the country.

The round of lectures by James French, Business Director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Mr. González, and Eduardo Estrada, President of Bayer for Brazil and Latin America, highlighted the following conclusions:

  • Science should develop new methods to increase the productivity of each hectare of arable land.
  • At present 48% of the country’s products leaving the farms are lost at the different stages of the supply chain, making it vital to develop innovative technologies to drastically reduce this wastage.
  • The Crop Science industry must play a greater role in the challenge of feeding the 9 billion people expected to inhabit the planet in 2050.
  • Increase the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in rural management.
  • Develop multidimensional strategies as well as face the generational challenges and those of viability and capabilities.

As for small-scale and family farming it was clear that it is necessary to:

  • Provide incentives that make it attractive to upcoming generations to continue and take over family farming businesses.
  • Restore the means of production via small gardens for short cycle agricultural production.
  • Assist farmers with training, techniques, credit, and marketing in formal markets.

In addition, presentations on the potential of small-scale farmers by Nancy Chunchun (Guatemala), Jessica Messina (Chile), Javier Lara (Ecuador) from the agricultural sector, and Flavio Alzueta of GLOBALG.A.P. confirmed that:

  • Education is both fundamental and pivotal in all population development processes.
  • Ongoing training is required throughout the entire production chain.
  • Farmers must be empowered to adopt new agricultural practices and technologies to increase productivity and ensure the quality of their products.
  • Market research is important to find demand for new products and new marketing niches.
  • Partnerships must be sought at every stage of the production and marketing chain of agriculture.
  • Certification of agricultural products is vital to ensuring food safety, good agricultural practices, and good social practices.
  • Partnership agreements are important as they enable farmers to negotiate products on an equal basis.

Alongside 270 delegates, the forum also included the participation of 11 different public and private institutions associated with agriculture, including Magap, InnovAgro Ecuador, ESPE (the Army Polytechnic School), and ESPOCH (Polytechnic School of Chimborazo)