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South America needs food supply guaranteed during pandemic

The agriculture ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia and Peru held a videoconference, to discuss regulations and guarantee food supply in the region during the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting was organised by the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS), whose technical secretariat is in charge of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), prompted by an initiative by Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina. The Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) is under temporary presidency of Chile that will define a document with approved protocols to guarantee free traffic for the transportation of loads by road between countries, including Colombia.

Tereza Cristina of Brazil wants to prepare in case the situation worsens. Photo: Brazilian department of agriculture
Tereza Cristina of Brazil wants to prepare in case the situation worsens. Photo: Brazilian department of agriculture

The IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, applauded the holding of the virtual meeting in the CAS field and considered it an initiative that will avoid a further slowdown in trade exchanges, potentially damaging to supply chains.

Today more than ever, in the face of this world emergency situation, it is necessary to maintain food supplies to the entire population, especially to the least favoured sectors,” – IICA Director General, Manuel Otero.

The virtual meeting was attended by:

  • Tereza Cristina (Brazil),
  • Luis Basterra (Argentina),
  • Antonio Walker (Chile),
  • Rodolfo Max Friedmann Alfaro (Paraguay),
  • Carlos María Uriarte (Uruguay),
  • Jorge Luis Montenegro Chavesta (Peru) and
  • Beatriz Eliane Capobiano Sandoval (Bolivia).

“We need to anticipate what might happen in case the situation worsens. We have a great responsibility to join these efforts: guarantee the supply and maintenance of food chains, from producer to final consumer,” said Tereza during the conference.

Just Brazil had exported US$ 3.7 billion and imported US$ 5.8 billion among South America´s countries last year. The ministers also decided to create a communication channel on WhatsApp to exchange information more quickly about possible problems that may occur.

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