In order for stockbreeding in Central America to fulfil its role as a pillar of food safety, it is necessary that the sector carries out a continuous sustainability improvement process, the Ministers of Agriculture of Central America pointed out in the 12th meeting of the Livestock Development Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODEGALAC).
The Ministers of Agriculture of Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Livestock Directors of the Ministries of Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic analysed the challenges of stockbreeding and its potential for its sustainable development.
According to the CODEGALAC, the majority of the farms in Central America are small, and this makes this sector is a strategic development engine for reducing the levels of food insecurity and poverty in rural areas.
In Central America stockbreeding is one of the most important agriculture and livestock subsectors from a financial, social and environmental point of view, contributing to a high percentage of the regional agriculture and livestock gross domestic product and to the creation of employment in the rural environment.
Nevertheless, in spite of this important contribution, the percentage of agriculture and livestock public spending addressed to this heading is small. "One of the main challenges for the livestock sector is increasing the public expenditure percentage, whose absence is limiting a more sustainable and competitive development," explained Tito Díaz, Livestock Production Officer of the FAO.
Main challenges of the sector
According to the CODEGALAC, among the challenges that the sector must face during the next decade, we must highlight the increase in the demand of animal derived products, the scarcity or the deterioration of natural resources, the effects of the climate change and the need for increasing the contribution of the sector towards food and nutritional safety, and the wellbeing of the vulnerable communities.
The FAO pointed out that there are available solutions that allow the carrying out of technological and institutional changes for addressing suitably each of these challenges, generating important financial, social and environmental profits for the region. Nevertheless, the coordinate action of governments, entrepreneurs and producers is needed.
December 2013/ FAO.