FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

FAO regional conference: The Amazon and the Caribbean join Hand in Hand initiative's inclusive and resilient rural transformation

The initiative, present in 15 countries in the region, has had a significant impact on rural transformation, with emphasis on more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable investment.

©FAO/Asafo Jones

21/03/2024, Georgetown

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held the high-level event "Targeted investments for resilient, sustainable and inclusive agrifood systems under the Hand in Hand Initiative", where it shared progress and results, as well as the new national and regional challenges that will integrate the initiative.

The event was part of the agenda of FAO 38 Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Georgetown, Guyana. The initiative is currently present in 15 countries of the region (Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile), reflecting the commitment to agricultural development and food security. The program has an active regional initiative focused on the Dry Corridor.

During the meeting, it was reported that two new regional initiatives will be added by 2024 in Amazonia and the Caribbean, covering 8 and 15 countries, respectively.

The event sought to facilitate dialogue and the exchange of experiences on the mobilization of investments among countries to show the progress of the initiative in the region through the eyes of the participating authorities, to facilitate dialogue and experiences among countries in the mobilization of investments for the implementation of investment notes at the national and regional level, to take stock of progress in the mobilization of investments and establish the following steps; and to identify challenges and opportunities for work.

The Hand in Hand initiative has significantly impacted rural transformation in the region, emphasizing more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable investment. For this reason, new mechanisms will be added to support regional investment.

"We are preparing version two of the Hand in Hand initiative that goes further. It is going to put in place much stronger prioritization and sustainability metrics that will allow climate change and financing to converge. That is what we are looking for now. That the climate and investment negotiations begin to converge, because it will attract a lot of climate investment to the agro-industrial system," said Máximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist.

The event was attended by delegates from Paraguay, Panama, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras, among others.

"Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize reaffirm our commitment to the sustainable and climate-resilient development of the Central American Dry Corridor and emphasize the crucial value of FAO's support through the Hand in Hand initiative in our efforts to mobilize significant investments for this cause," said Ambassador Tomás Duncan, Panama's Permanent Representative to FAO.

"I want to tell you that Honduras celebrates Hand in Hand initiative, and I am sure we will evolve. This experience has been very successful; we must recognize the importance of working on associativity, cooperativism, the chain approach, research, the development of new products and marketing," said the Minister of Agriculture of Honduras, Laura Suazo, adding that "only when farmers generate profits from their work will they achieve sustainable food security and generate income that will lift them out of poverty.”

Erick Dorrejo, Director of Border Zone Development Policies of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic, explained that the Enriquillo Norte Agroindustrial Center, which is part of the Hand in Hand initiative, "is a project aimed at taking advantage of raw materials (agricultural and livestock) to strengthen the area's producers and satisfy the demands of tourists and locals to boost tourism and investment".

Johana Jácome, Undersecretary of Livestock Production of Ecuador's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, said that more than 210,000 producers will benefit from the investment strategies presented at the Hand in Hand Investment Forum. "We call on you to continue mobilizing resources and cooperation in favor of the producers of my country.

Meanwhile, Maynor Estrada, Guatemala's Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food, stated that "the evidence generated by the Hand in Hand initiative has been useful in the process of formulating the Irrigation Investment Plan, which response to the national irrigation policy under development."

Milestones and achievements Hand in Hand initiative in the region

The initiative has increased interaction with the private sector, fostering pre-existing partnerships and attracting greater investment.

The 2023 Global Investment Forum marked an important milestone, with USD 900 million in structured investments for sustainable agricultural systems, increasing productivity, stimulating rural transformation and the transition to climate-smart systems in the region. 

With a focus on collaboration, investment and innovation, the Hand in Hand Initiative and the Investment Forum works to build a prosperous and sustainable agricultural and rural future in Latin America and the Caribbean, through sustainable business models, opportunities for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs, and the strengthening of strategic alliances.


Ricardo Rivera Communications Specialist [email protected]