Partnership to drive rural development in Latin America through technology and smart farming

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) and the Inter American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), have signed a partnership agreement to drive financial inclusion and innovation in the agricultural and rural sector in the five Latin American countries where the Foundation is present (Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Chile and Panama), where 2.2 million low-income entrepreneurs are being served.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) is a roadmap to implement joint initiatives that contribute to the development of vulnerable population segments, paying special attention to women and the youth. Both parties have agreed to focus on specialized training and to design programs that are already being carried out in the Dominican Republic with the purpose of improving the standard of living of small farmers, through climate change adaptation measures, digital tools and skills training related to the needs in the agricultural sector. 

“To drive the progress of people under vulnerable conditions, knowledge and good practices must be combined, and this is one of the objectives of this agreement, which strengthens our commitment to rural areas, where there are higher levels of poverty and financial exclusion”, stressed Javier M. Flores, CEO of BBVAMF, assuring that this partnership implies going one step ahead in the fulfillment of the Foundation’s purpose.

De izq. a der.: El director general de la FMBBVA, Javier M. Flores; el ministro de Agricultura de Rep. Dominicana, Osmar Benítez; y el director general del IICA, Manuel Otero en la firma del acuerdo de colaboración

From left to right: BBVAMF CEO, Javier M. Flores; Dominican Republic minister of Agriculture, Osmar Benítez; and general director for IICA, Manuel Otero during the signing of the partnership agreeement

Manuel Otero, general director for IICA, emphasized the value of working together to support the progress of farmers and to bring digitalization to rural areas, “We need climatically smart farming, one that is modern and with a broad technological base, but also inclusive and able to generate new development opportunities for traditionally underserved groups, like rural women and youth.” Also present during the signing ceremony, was Osmar Benítez, acting as Dominican Republic’s Minister of Agriculture and president of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (JIA), which is the supreme governing body of IICA, composed of 34 member states.

In the context of this agreement, BBVAMF works with IICA Play, a free application created with Microsoft, to make specialized content related to agriculture and farming more accessible to all. This way, the digital and educational gap in these segments are curtailed.