Last month, Gérard Matheron, CIRAD President Managing Director, and Patrick Caron, Deputy Director General for Research and Strategy, co-signed two letters of intent with two countries in South America: Colombia and Costa Rica. These signings mark CIRAD's keenness to step up its joint operations and strengthen its links with these countries.
On 11 February 2011, Gérard Matheron, CIRAD President Managing Director, co-signed with the Minister of Agriculture (MAG) of Costa Rica, Ms Gloria Abraham Peralta, a letter of intent laying the foundations for a future commitment to strengthening the activities CIRAD is already engaged in in the country.
For more than 25 years, CIRAD has been conducting research, training and development operations in partnership, in support of national institutions and of the rural sector in Costa Rica . The country is the site of one of CIRAD's priority research platforms in partnership, PCP-Saf Pérennes (Tree Crop Agroforestry Research Consortium), a strong factor in structuring the organization's presence in Mesoamerica. The consortium represents a ten-year commitment on the part of CIRAD and its partners to agroforestry research and development.
Based on this wide-ranging partnership that has been built to last, MAG and CIRAD are determined to develop joint cooperation activities. In cooperation with research centres and institutions to be determined later, these activities should include, among other things:
- genetic improvement and promotion, particularly of coffee, with a view to agroforestry linked to climate change, productivity and quality;
- product quality and processing , with particular emphasis on questions of qualification and designations of origin;
- agricultural policy and local and territorial development .
On 23 February 2011, Patrick Caron, CIRAD's Deputy Director General for Research and Strategy, and the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ricardo Sánchez, and the Executive Director of Corporación colombiana de investigación agronómica - CORPOICA, Juan Lucas Restrepo, co-signed a letter of intent marking their joint will to develop joint activities.
CIRAD's collaboration with Colombia is long standing and fruitful , and has traditionally covered tree crops (oil palm, coffee, rubber, banana and plantain, fruit, and cocoa) and annual crops (rice, sorghum), and their processing. Colombia is also a base for cooperation on a regional level, notably via the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CIRAD's partnership with the private sector, primarily in the field of oil palm, but also in those of rubber and rice, is also very strong.
The letter of intent signed recently places particular emphasis on cocoa and rubber cropping , in collaboration with research institutions and centres to be determined. Oil palm and forestry are also mentioned.
Patrick Caron stressed CIRAD's determination to conduct this work within a regional framework, ensuring dissemination of the results to benefit farming in the South and with the aim of sustainable, environmentally friendly development .
These two signings also gave Gérard Matheron and Patrick Caron an opportunity of talking about the work being done by the Observatory for World Agricultures (OAM) , initiated by CIRAD, the FAO and the French Ministry of Agriculture. Costa Rica is one of the Latin American countries currently under study. Colombia has shown an interest in being associated with this work, particularly concerning the implementation of the initiative in the country.