Vilsack stresses partnership with Brazil

Published on: Aug 8, 2013

Top leaders from two largest producers of food - United States and Brazil - met Wednesday to highlight the need to work together as well as expand agricultural trade.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack led a delegation of 20 government officials and members of congress, including Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.).

During a nearly two-hour meeting with the president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA), Sen. Katia Abreu, Vilsack stressed the importance of working together. "My message to Brazilian farmers is very simple: we do not see them as competitors, but as partners," he said.

Abreu added that there are additional opportunities for the countries to come together and sell their quality food which is sustainably produced.

During the meetings the leaders also addressed the possible partnership on issues related to genetically modified foods. One of the goals is to bring scientific information, especially to the Europeans, who have resistance to products produced through biotechnology. The positioning influences other countries of Europe, which, according to Abreu, justifies the need to work "in harmony."

"We need to unite and show scientifically that biotechnology is not harmful," she said.

 Citing the need to increase food production in the coming years in order to ensure global supplies -a target set by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - Abreu emphasized the role of Brazil and the United States to face this challenge. "We can walk together to meet global demand, producing inexpensive, quality food without harming the environment," she said.

In addition to Abreu, the president of the Federation of Agriculture of Mato Grosso do Sul (Famasul), Eduardo Riedel, talked about the growth prospects of meat production and grain to harvest during the event. The president of the Institute CNA, Moises Gomes, highlighted the investments in the use of low carbon practices and decline in deforestation in Brazil.

Also present at the meeting was the executive director of the Agency for Foreign Agricultural Service, Phil Karsting, the minister counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Todd Chapman, and other representatives of the U.S. government and the U.S. Embassy in Brazil.