Food Security Challenges and Latin America's Opportunity

Keynote remarks by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz's, followed by an expert panel, focused on Latin America's role in ensuring resilient global food supply chains.

Keynote remarks:

  • Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard


  • Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla, Head of Latin American and Caribbean Program, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Daniel Maldonado, General Director, Wheat Mills, Corporación Multi Inversiones
  • Ignacio Tirado, President, Oceano Seafood
  • Tania Rojas, Managing Director, LatAm Central, Cargill Animal Nutrition
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
  • Ragnhild Melzi, Vice President, Public Policy Programs, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

"Regional security permits food security," said Admiral Karl Schultz, as he opened the AS/COA program on efforts to address food security in the Western Hemisphere. The admiral discussed the U.S. Coast Guard's focus on expanding the more than 30 regional bilateral partnerships it maintains to include combatting problems such as illegal fishing by Asian-Pacific countries. "The regional approach is absolutely the smart approach," he said.

Collective action on food security and its associated health, economic, and environmental problems were the resounding themes of the discussion. IFPRI's Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla noted the critical economic contribution of food systems, which support about half of the world's employment. As the top net food exporting region in the world, Latin America's role in the agricultural supply chain is particularly important.

The concerted effort between the public and private sectors has been key to keeping trade flows going, remarked Corporación Multi Inversiones' Daniel Maldonado, who also discussed the changing consumption dynamics in the region.

For Cargill's Tania Rojas, regulatory alignment across borders would go along way in fortifying supply chains, along with the digitalization of related processes. "Anything that brings trade barriers down is a plus," she said. She also discussed her company's work to support small farmers in the region and setting safety and sustainability standards.

Ignacio Tirado focused his comments on the challenges associated with illegal fishing, especially of giant squids, and the disadvantages Oceano Seafood's products face when competing in Asia-Pacific markets, such as Korea.