Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
Agricultural Services
All Manuals - Crops
Animal Production & Health
Bulletins - Crops
Extension Training & Information Services
Factsheet - Advisory
Gallery 2019 Page
Gallery 2020 Page
General Public
Giant African Snails
Home Gardening Series
Homepage Featured Land
Livestock Feeds
Manuals & Booklets - Livestock
Media Releases
Pest Advisories
Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery 2019
Photo Gallery 2020
Posters - Other
Poultry Bulletins
Public Notices
Public Officers
Regional Administration North
Regional Administration South
Root Crops
Surveying and Mapping
Sweet Potato

Media Release – IICA – Lessons and Challenges – Cooperation in the Era of Coronavirus

23 March, 2020


IMG 2 – Manuel Otero

Article by Mr. Manuel Otero
Director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Lessons and Challenges: Cooperation in the Era of Coronavirus


23rd March, 2020: We are witnessing the spread of a new pandemic in the 21st century. Now less than four months since it first erupted, this emergency is rocking the world, and we are not yet able to foresee what life will be like in a few months, when this dramatic event is finally over.

Amidst the confusion, fear and disorientation, we can draw some conclusions and identify preliminary lessons. The first is obvious. This situation is having a greater impact on economies that are excessively dependent on one sector, such as tourism, petroleum or agricultural raw materials. The structural, long-term antidote to this is diversification.

The slowing down of trade is also endangering people’s ability to fully exercise their right to food, especially in countries with an extremely high agricultural trade deficit.  In some cases, it seems that there may be insufficient labor to transport goods, especially over long distances, although, this is not affecting the food supply at the moment.

Approximately 20 countries in the hemisphere are net importers of food. Each year, the Caribbean region alone draws a cheque for 6 billion dollars to feed 44.5 million people. The situation calls for food security strategies and greater efforts to increase self-sufficiency.

We must again reassess the role of family farmers, who, ironically, although pivotal in ensuring food self-sufficiency, are the adjustment variable in times of economic uncertainty. These farmers supply close to 60% of the food demand in the hemisphere. This situation requires us to focus on policies that benefit these producers, emphasizing areas such as associativity, extension services, access to technology and agricultural insurance.

The new generation of pests and diseases affecting men and women, crops and animals—such as Fusarium on bananas, locusts and African Swine Fever —create the need for sophisticated surveillance and agricultural quarantine services, as a means of reinforcing the importance of health intelligence and prospective monitoring.

We will have to strengthen national and regional innovation and development systems before the developed countries leave us behind completely. Our countries must increase the production of major crops, while boosting their resistance to drought, pests and diseases; and we must be increasingly rigorous about controlling the indiscriminate use of certain agrochemicals.

The well-being and food security of our people are at stake, which means maintaining the world order, as we know it. This situation makes the delivery of effective and first-class technical cooperation an imperative.


Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

IICA Delegation in Trinidad and Tobago
# 16 Factory Road, Building #3

Brechin Castle

Trinidad and Tobago

Tel: 1(868) 6454555, 645-5020, 645-8886


Download here