PDF 2015 Annual Report

Harvesting Results


What is IICA?

For more than seven decades, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has been the agency of the Inter-American System specializing in the promotion of agricultural development and rural well-being in the Americas. Its aim, through technical cooperation, is to achieve competitive, inclusive and sustainable agriculture that feeds the world and creates opportunities for reducing hunger and poverty.

Its mission is to “encourage, promote, and support our Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.”.

Our eleven contributions:

1 Policies and institutional frameworks

Strengthening the capabilities of the Member States at the national, regional, multinational and hemispheric levels to establish public policies and institutional frameworks in order to make agriculture more productive and competitive, improve management of rural territories, adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change, and promote food and nutritional security.

2 Innovations

Implementing, through public and private institutions, technological, institutional and business innovations aimed at boosting the productivity and competitiveness of agriculture and the production of basic foodstuffs of high nutritional quality.

3 Agricultural health

Increasing the capabilities of the public and private sectors to ensure agricultural health and food safety and thereby improve productivity, competitiveness and food security.

4 Business capabilities

Strengthening the business and associative capabilities of the different stakeholders in the agricultural production chains.

5 Area-based management capabilities

Increasing the capacity for area-based social management among stakeholders in rural territories, especially those involved in family agriculture, in order to improve food security and rural well-being.

6 Water management and soil use

Enhancing the capabilities of different stakeholders of the agricultural production chains and rural territories in the integrated management of water and sustainable use of soil for agriculture.

7 Climate change and risk management

Increasing the capacity of public and private institutions to promote and implement measures for adapting agriculture to climate change and mitigating its effects, as well as promoting integrated risk management in agriculture.

8 Food and nutritional security

Improving the efficacy and efficiency of food and nutritional security programs in the Member States.

9 Food potential

Ensuring that producers and consumers benefit from a greater use of native species, promising crops and native genetic resources with food potential.

10 Less food losses

Improving institutional capacity to address losses of food and raw materials throughout the agricultural chains.

11 Forums and knowledge exchange

Strengthening the Member States’ capacity for consensus and participation in international forums and other mechanisms for the exchange of knowledge and mobilization of sizable resources for inter-American agriculture.

The Americas are ideally placed to feed the world, and should take advantage of the opportunity to do so

Dr. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula
Director General of IICA

Message from the Director General

The countries of the Americas have assumed the commitment of growing better and producing more. We are convinced that the Americas are ideally placed to feed the world, and should take advantage of the opportunity to do so. If such efforts are to be successful, the people responsible for agriculture in each country need to understand the importance of finding sustainable ways to increase productivity and reduce food losses, and thus meet the dietary needs of all the continent’s inhabitants.

In 2015, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), as the specialized agency for agriculture of the Inter-American System, implemented a series of actions to support its member countries’ efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being that are detailed in this annual report.

All the work we did last year enabled us to consolidate the Institute’s new technical cooperation model, designed to deliver impactful results to the countries and, in particular, to bring about the transformations needed to achieve productive, sustainable and inclusive agriculture.

We realize that tackling the major challenges facing the agricultural and rural sectors, which include increasing productivity, adapting agriculture to climate change, reducing poverty and inequality, promoting plant and animal health protection, and achieving food security, calls for the cooperation of all the national and international stakeholders involved in the sectors concerned.

Hence, the Institute has focused its work on very specific contributions in its member countries, by means of more than 250 technical cooperation projects and actions.

For example, it supported national efforts to strengthen the institutional framework linked to the agricultural and rural sectors, and promoted knowledge-intensive agriculture. It also helped to make the countries more productive by promoting the strengthening of innovation systems and health and food safety services; and more competitive by fostering the development of business skills and associative capabilities in production chains, especially among family farmers.

To meet the challenge of sustainability, IICA worked on integrated water management and sustainable soil use. It also promoted the development of a culture of risk management, as part of which it collaborated in efforts to adapt agriculture to climate variability and mitigate the effects of climate change.

All the Institute’s member countries are engaged in bold efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. Since the majority of poor people live in rural areas, IICA has prioritized the development of those territories where agriculture continues to be the predominant activity, with a view to achieving full social inclusion. This work produced very concrete results with respect to the insertion of women and young people into farming, which in many countries is the most important production activity.

Agriculture is the cornerstone of food security. However, increasing the availability of food is not enough. Access to foodstuffs must also be improved, as well as the use made of them. To achieve this, IICA supports the countries with actions aimed at increasing productivity through the use of the technological tools available and the use of native species, as well as others designed to improve agricultural health, promote food safety, and reduce food losses.

This is just a small sample of the implementation of all the cooperation instruments established in the 2014-2018 Medium-term Plan (MTP) approved by the Member States. That plan was designed to bring about an evolution in the Institute’s technical cooperation model, gearing it toward the achievement of results.

My administration is strongly committed to the efficient, effective and transparent use of the resources that the countries place at the Institute’s disposal. For that reason, we have focused our technical cooperation on the achievement of results and promoted a culture of accountability, of which this annual report is an example.


in numbers


technical cooperation projects or actions

funded with external resourses


rapid response actions

funded by IICA and approved to provide effective cooperation in 21 countries and in the Andean, Central and Southern regions.


hemispheric projects

funded with IICA resources underway in areas related to chains, inclusion, family farming, resilience and agricultural health.


multinational projects

operating under the IICA Technical Cooperation Fund.



by IICA being implemented in the countries.


million executed

for external projects.



national and international partners.


countries benefited

from IICA’s rapid-response actions.


persons trained

in adaptation to climate change, innovation, trade, business, health, public policies and rural development.


validated technologies

benefit about 4000 tomato, cassava, potato and avocado producers in Central America (EU-IICA).


trained officials

from 10 countries learned about the requirements for exporting to the U.S.


trained technical officers

in the Caribbean and Central America participated in 14 programs in Mexico.


scholarship recipients

in master’s and doctoral degree courses at Mexican universities under the CONACYT-IICA program.

Financial contributions

The main financial contributions came from the European Union (EU) and several of its member states, as well as the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.


Increase in quotas

increase in the IICA quota budget beginning in 2016.


Year in review

Formulation of innovative policies and strategies for agricultural and rural development, aimed at facilitating business activities and promoting innovation, participatory management, inclusion, and family farming.

Linking to markets of at least eleven agricultural chains in ten countries, through the creation of committees for competitiveness; training in management, entrepreneurship, associative enterprises, and value added; and the operation of market information systems.

Promotion of technological and commercial innovations aimed at improving agro-ecological production, agroindustry, fish farming, beekeeping, and water resource management, and reducing food loss. The improvements adopted can be seen in products such as rice, vegetables, poultry, cacao, coffee, flowers, avocadoes, tomatoes, potatoes, and cassava.

Agricultural health and food safety assurance in the Americas through the training of sanitary officials, the harmonization of processes to gain access to markets, the use of good agricultural and production practices, emergency response actions, and the management of risks, particularly those associated with climate change.

Increase in 16 countries of public sector capabilities for integrated water resource management, the use of irrigation systems and water harvesting, waste management, and the implementation of measures to combat soil degradation and to make better use of agricultural insurance.

Coordination of institutional efforts designed to achieve climate-smart agriculture, promoting capacity development within the ministries of environment and agriculture, the development of plans for climate change adaptation in agriculture, and integration of the gender perspective to address the threat that climate change poses.

Promotion of knowledge-intensive agriculture through networks, grants, and information systems. Of special importance was the approval of 301 grants to enable students to take master’s and doctoral degree courses under the program with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), and the enrollment of 121 students in the master’s degree program in food security operated by the Open and Distance University of Mexico.

Contribution to the hemispheric dialogue on sustainable agricultural productivity and rural inclusion by means of the Declaration of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas Mexico 2015, which was presented at the Eighteenth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA).

The Member States have recognized the Institution’s efforts and have increased IICA’s annual quota budget by 6.57%.

A modern corporate management model

In 2015, the Institute fully implemented its program budget model aligned with the strategic structure established in the 2014-2018 MTP; it completed the accreditation process of the European Union (EU) based on the four institutional pillars and opted for the fifth pillar (grants), which has allowed IICA to qualify as an organization eligible to implement technical cooperation projects with EU resources in LAC; it succeeded in securing the member countries’ approval of a 6.57% increase in the quota budget beginning in 2016, in order to support its finances and continue to provide cooperation to the countries on the same scale and of the same quality as previously.

Most of the countries also offered to pay varying sums in the form of over-quotas, which constitute not only an important form of complementary financial support for the Institute’s activities, bringing the total increase to 8.11%, but also a good indicator of the degree of satisfaction of the member countries with IICA’s performance.

At the same time, the Institute placed emphasis on the process of continuous improvement initiated in 2010 involving systematic work that has generated clear results and a positive impact on the modernization of the organization that is currently underway. The following are some of the most important results:

  • Greater integration of corporate management with technical cooperation, which resulted in a clear improvement in the use of resources. In this regard, every unit received support in the consensus-building process of projects as well as the funds needed to implement the MTP as and when required.
  • Strict application of the criteria of austerity, rationality, equity, and transparency in the execution of the budget, which reduced operating costs and absorbed incremental expenditures without affecting the growing need for technical cooperation in the countries.
  • Application of a policy of accountability and transparent use of resources, including the preparation of audited and approved financial statements that complied strictly with U.S. GAAP (U.S. generally accepted accounting principles) international accounting standards.
  • Successful negotiation of an Agreement between Spain and IICA, thereby opening up new possibilities of financing for technical cooperation.
  • Operation of the technological platform SAPIENS for human talent management and of the Unified Institutional Management System (SUGI) for planning, monitoring and reporting on all of the Institute’s projects and actions; and consolidation of the accounting-financial system SAP.
  • Updating of the Code of Ethics, the Antifraud and Sexual Harassment Policy, and the Manual on the procurement of goods and services.
  • Rationality in expenditure achieved through the renegotiation of service contracts and campaigns to promote savings in water, electricity, fuels and other consumables.

Strategic Objectives

Productivity and competitiveness
Development of rural territories and rural well-being
Climate change adaptation and better use of natural resources
Food security

Knowledge products

Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and IICA produce this report every two years, to provide input for policies designed to address the main challenges and needs of the agricultural and rural sectors of the Americas. Detailed presentations of the report, which covers the period 2015-2016, were made to the IABA and representatives of the public and private sectors in Argentina, Canada, Chile and Uruguay.

AgroEnlace: Outlook for Agriculture 2015-2016 Listen to audio (Spanish only):
We present the report entitled "Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas: A Perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean 2015-2016." The report presents the findings of a study conducted by IICA, FAO and ECLAC since 2009.
Grants for agricultural studies in the Americas

Under IICA’s joint program with Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), 301 grants were processed and approved to enable young professionals from across the continent to continue their education in the agricultural and related sciences. As a result, by the end of 2015, as many as 207 students were enrolled in master’s programs and 94 in doctoral programs at 47 Mexican higher education institutions.

Number of scholarship holders under the CONACYT-IICA program (2015)
301 scholarship holders

Similarly, under the joint project between IICA and the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) entitled “Enhancing Agriculture and Rural Development through Leadership Education” (Henry A. Wallace Legacy Scholars –HWLS), 24 students from the Americas received grants for master’s degree courses at CATIE.

Master’s degree in food security

With the participation of FAO, ECLAC, and ten universities across the Americas that are members of the Union of Latin American Universities, IICA spearheaded the design of the study program for the International Master’s Degree in Food Security. With grants from the Open and Distance University of Mexico (UnADM), 121 students are now enrolled in the master’s degree course.

Agricultural capabilities in the Caribbean

With IICA’s assistance, the Government of Mexico consolidated its horizontal cooperation, implementing 14 capacity-building programs for agriculture that benefited 1060 technical officers in the Caribbean and Central America. The subject matter of the programs dovetailed with the knowledge needs of the countries concerned, and included protected agriculture, rural tourism, family and backyard farming, protection of soils and water, plant pathology, and sheep production.

  • Alliance of Agricultural Information Services

    The alliance, comprised of 175 national institutions in 22 countries, facilitated access to 2.8 million references and 252,665 full-text documents archived in 345 databases. During the course of the year, 2.6 million unique visitors and 811,745 recurrent users benefited from this service. The participants shared 49,730 articles and documents.

  • Collection of information management resources - IMARK

    Thanks to the work with the FAO and other international organizations, 11 courses on information and knowledge management are available. At the global level, the platform provides access to courses in English, Spanish, and French related to 18 subject areas.

  • AgriPerfiles

    The Institute spearheaded the adaptation and operation of the VIVO system in LAC. Developed by the University of Cornell, the system makes it possible to administer technical and professional profiles in agriculture. Currently, 982 profiles can be accessed, related to more than 1100 institutions.

  • Network for the Management of Innovation in the Agrifood Sector
    INNOVAGRO Network

    As many as 772 people from 21 countries benefited from different activities related to the construction of knowledge on innovation. The Network involves 81 institutions in 16 countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as six regional systems and networks.

  • Food Security Observatory for the Americas

    Public and private stakeholders have access to timely and pertinent information about the food security situation across the Americas and worldwide. The site receives an average of 1200 visits per month. The monthly bulletin is sent to 604 subscribers.

  • IICA Website

    In 2015, IICA published 49 books and technical documents, all available in digital format and under the system of Creative Commons licenses.

Main publications available online

Políticas públicas y agriculturas familiares en América Latina y el Caribe: nuevas perspectivas

(Spanish only)

Innovation and Water Management for Sustainable Development in Agriculture

Caracterización de capacidades nacionales de respuestas de emergencias en sanidad animal y protección vegetal. 2.a ed.

(Spanish only)