(Posted Tue. Aug 8th, 2017)
Last month, a delegation from the International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL), including NCGA Past and MAIZALL current President Pam Johnson, met with their South American counterparts in Argentina to collaborate on strategic planning for MAIZALL and to meet with a number of senior Argentine government officials.
While the participants in MAIZALL compete for markets abroad, they came together to reaffirm their commitment to and discuss their work toward common goals that benefit corn farmers in America, Brazil and Argentina. MAIZALL works to: enhance public support for trade, grow public understanding of and support for biotechnology; encourage transparent, predictable, science-based regulatory systems; promote synchronicity in approval processes; and encourage trade-enabling low level presence policies.
During the meetings, the board also re-established its priority activities. It was determined that tier one priorities included: working through the World Trade Organization to engage China and Europe; advancing harmonization; increasing outreach in Africa; and improving communications. In addition to these top-tier goals, the partners will also continue addressing crop protection and maximum residue levels issues and advancing sustainability.
The MAIZALL Board met with the Ministry of Agro-Industry of Argentina, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, the Institute for International Agriculture Negotiations, ArgenBio, the Argentina Seed Association, Aapresid, and the Agriculture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
These meetings focused primarily on efforts to cooperate on access issues in markets such as China and the African continent. MAIZALL received substantial feedback on how they could continue to collaborate to further these initiatives. Additionally, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange invited MAIZALL to participate in a side event to the WTO Ministerial in December 2017.
“I have been working with MAIZALL since its inception and am impressed by how it has grown into a successful model for collaboration around a common purpose related to agricultural innovation,” said Johnson. “This meeting brought the principals together to confer and renew our commitment to this important work. Following the dialogue, we emerged reinvigorated and eager to elevate our engagement even further.”
The delegation included, in addition to Johnson, U.S. Grains Council Chairman Chip Councell, USGC Former Chairman Julius Schaaf, USGC Director of Industry Relations and Manager of Global Biotechnology Andrew Conner.
MAIZALL was formalized in June of 2013 with the signing of a MOU in Buenos Aires, Argentina. MAIZALL is a farmer led, private sector partnership of three countries and four associations representing the major maize producers and exporters of the Americas: MAIZAR (Argentina); ABRAMILHO (Brazil); the National Corn Growers Association; and the U.S. Grains Council (United States).