The study was presented by Mr. Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, and was commented upon by Mr. Ulises Canchola, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico; Mr. Luis Enrique Chávez Basagoitia, Permanent Representative of Peru; and Mr. Minelik Alemu Getahun, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia.
The Ambassadors commended UNCTAD on the professionalism and high level of technicality of the study. It was stated that the study achieved its objective, and helped overcome the perception that might exist of rural areas and agriculture being a problem, rather than an opportunity for development. The collaboration between UNCTAD and a range of different contributors in Mexico, including from the Government, the private sector and academia, had been a vital factor in the success of the study.
The importance of agriculture as a fundamental pillar for development and poverty alleviation in rural areas was stressed, as was the importance of financing for farmers and the implementation of the competition policy regime. The use of agriculture to produce renewable energy was also emphasized as being catalytic to agricultural production. The link between agriculture and the environment was emphasized in terms of agricultural production that protects the environment, such as organic agriculture and biotrade.
The need for agreements to open up trade in agriculture under fair rules for all, including in the WTO Doha Round, as well as the need to reduce barriers - particularly non-tariff measures - in agricultural trade and food security, was highlighted. The importance of assessing the impact of regional trade agreements on agricultural development was stressed, too.
It was said that this study provided an opportunity for the holding of comprehensive deliberations on the centrality of agriculture for all countries, irrespective of their level of development. Speakers also pointed to the usefulness of the study's recommendations for enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector and improving the livelihoods of rural populations, and commended the study's holistic perspective and multidisciplinary approach.