Deputy Minister Termination a Mistake: CNABy Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 10/05/2020 - 13:44
In a press release, the National Council of Agriculture (CNA) has expressed total disagreement with the termination of the post of Deputy Minister of Agriculture. On Oct. 1, the post was removed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development citing the government’s austerity measures as the cause. The now former Deputy Minister Miguel García Winder is going to be presented as a candidate for Mexico’s representation at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the ministry stated.
CNA believes the decision is a terrible sign from the government toward food production and producers in the Mexican countryside, particularly considering the government’s stated goal of food self-sufficiency. “The elimination of the Undersecretariat of Agriculture and its functions, which are key to the coordination of plans and programs in the area of food self-sufficiency, goes against the goals of this administration and is opposed to all the efforts made by the Mexican agri-food sector in recent years,” said Bosco de la Vega, President of CNA, in the same press release.
The undersecretariat was in charge of product systems that integrate the entire production chain and, according to CNA, acted as the cornerstone for the agri-food production strategy in Mexico. Because of this, the press release continues, this move represents the resignation of this government to represent the interests of farmers who guarantee national food supply. For CNA, it is essential that food production and producers in the Mexican countryside, whether small, medium or large, are seen as a priority in the government’s agenda. The council reiterates that this sector, vital for the development of the country, has proven to be a good investment that generates jobs, economic spillover, development and well-being for the entire population.
Referring to Winder, CNA also lauds his knowledge, capacity, experience in the field and integrity at the service of producers and the Mexican agri-food sector. The council is adamant that the 2021 Federal Budget proposal for SADER should consider a priority, once again, support programs for small producers who do not necessarily compete with other producers in Mexico or abroad.
Following SADER’s announcement regarding the undersecretariat, Minister of Agriculture Victor Villalobos stated that the functions and substantial activities assigned to it would be maintained with “an effective structure of operation and attention to the producers.” He continued: “We maintain our objectives to advance the agenda related to a more sustainable, productive and inclusive agriculture, in accordance with the determination of the federal government to retake decision leadership in the sector.” It is perhaps too early to see how the ministry will attempt to realign activities that were formerly the responsibility of the undersecretariat. The termination of the deputy minister post could be a move with superficial impact on farmers’ programs. The Ministry of Well-Being is also a central pillar in these. That said, this move could also weaken the strong determination the government was showing to push its commitments to the end, as CNA forebodes.