The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, IICA, has established a Food Security Advisory Council for the Americas. The council includes leading professionals who have made significant political and academic contributions to the agrifood sector.

Elsa Murano, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife's Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture
Elsa Murano, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife’s Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, selected as sole U.S. representative on Food Security Advisory Council for the Americas.

IICA is an agency supported by 34 member countries, including the U.S. government, to promote technical cooperation in agriculture among member states. 

Elsa Murano, Ph.D., director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, will be the sole U.S. representative on the council.

“I am super excited to be working with the advisory council,” Murano said. “There is no doubt that working for the largest and best agricultural program in the nation played a key role in this appointment.”

Murano is a former president of Texas A&M and vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences. She served as Undersecretary for Food Safety with the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2001-2004. She serves on the boards of Hormel and Food Safety Net Services and on an advisory board for EcoLab.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and a master’s in anaerobic microbiology and doctorate in food science and technology, both from Virginia Tech.

“Dr. Murano will be a great asset to this council in their efforts to ensure the security of our agriculture and food system needed to nourish the world,” said Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

The council’s mission

Murano will join council members tasked with carrying dynamic analysis exercises with respect to the COVID-19 situation and will offer perspectives on food security in the hemisphere in relation to the pandemic, which is creating challenges for the region’s agricultural economy.

The nine-member council will monitor the impact of the new coronavirus, COVID 19, on food security in the region, and offer analyses and recommendations that may inform the decision-making processes of various public and private sector entities.

They will also support IICA in its technical cooperation efforts in order to assist the organization in redirecting its efforts to address new and more urgent demands of the countries affected by the pandemic, thereby contributing to the development of a new institutional roadmap.

Director General Manuel Otero, when announcing the Council, said, “The Advisory Council will present concrete ideas on alternative scenarios with respect to food security in the hemisphere and the obstacles to be overcome. It will also enhance the technical cooperation that IICA provides to countries.”

Other council members

The initial members of the Council will be Gloria Abraham, Ph.D., minister of agriculture and livestock and ambassador and head of delegation for Costa Rica to the World Trade Organization; Chelston Brathwaite, Ph.D., former director general of IICA and former ambassador of Barbados to the People’s Republic of China; Carlos Gustavo Cano, co-director of the board of directors of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia; Cassio Luiselli, Ph.D., former advisor to the President of the Republic on agricultural development and Mexico’s ambassador to South Korea, South Africa and Uruguay; Martín Piñeiro, Ph.D., director of the Committee on Agricultural Affairs of the Argentine International Affairs Council and a special advisor to IICA; Álvaro Ramos, former minister of livestock, agriculture and fisheries and minister of foreign affairs for Uruguay; Roberto Rodrigues, former minister of agriculture, livestock and supply and secretary of agriculture and supply of the State of Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Eduardo Trigo, a consultant for IICA and former executive director of the ArgenINTA Foundation.

More information can be found at Institutional Communication Division.

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