Agriculture, Rural Communities, and Food Systems in the Americas

Science and technology will be at the forefront of any transformation in agriculture, experts agreed.


  • Manuel Otero, Director General, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
  • Michael Kremer, 2019 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
  • Manuel Bravo, President and CEO of Bayer Mexico, and Head of Crop Science Business in the North Latin America Region
  • Saboto Scofield Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labor, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Krysta Harden, CEO and President, U.S. Dairy Export Council
  • Steve Liston, Senior Director, Council of the Americas (moderator)

Calling for “productivity in harmony with sustainability,” Manuel Otero kicked off a Council of the Americas panel on how the private and public sectors can collaborate to transform agriculture in Latin America. Like with many other sectors, agriculture has been irrevocably altered by the pandemic. This presents an opportunity for “new models of working [and] trade,” according to Manuel Bravo. Speakers addressed various areas for cooperation like market consolidation, food safety, food security, green development, and digital extension and integration. Science and technology, it was agreed, will be at the forefront of any development.

The panel highlighted that any changes in the sector must foreground farmers, especially Latin America's roughly 18 million small holders. Targeting individual producers, according to Manuel Bravo, “improves quality of life and quality of community,” as digital services can promote greater connectivity among farmers. Michael Kremer detailed how technology, like a smartphone, can be life changing to a farmer.