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Covid-19: Opportunity to reshape Latin America´s agri-food system

Covid-19: Opportunity to reshape Latin America´s agri-food system

United Nations, Sep 6 (Prensa Latina) The health, economic and social crisis caused by Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean underlines the need to transform agri-food systems in the region, according to specialized sources.
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A study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published this week underlined that food production and health should be a priority for financing and investment during the recovery phase of the pandemic.

Following the 7% drop in regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020, food and agriculture agency urges building back better and calls for digitalization of agriculture.

FAO´s document underlined that long-term transformative actions must jointly advance the process of immediate recovery from the crisis, to simultaneously address health, economic and climate issues.

‘Digital agriculture can make a substantive contribution to transforming and strengthening agri-food systems as they evolve towards sustainability and social inclusion,’ said Manuel Otero, director general of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) .

He added that digital technologies ¨can generate higher, sustainable and resilient production, more efficient and accessible markets, safer, more nutritious and traceable food and, of course, more inclusion and a better quality of life for all rural actors.’

According to the FAO report, digitization of agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean is still ‘incipient’, but that ‘it is beginning to accelerate and will become inevitable.’ However, its use is still low and unequal due to various barriers: connectivity services reach 71% of the urban population, while in rural the percentage drops to 36.8%.

To achieve the transformation of agrifood systems, the study highlights the need to invest in good sustainable management practices, promote cooperatives and take advantage of the opportunities that the region has to add value to the biological and generate new socio-economic opportunities in rural areas.

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