A story of agricultural and rural transformation began 75 years ago, when the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) was founded as the specialized agency of the Inter-American System with the mission 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.”
The delivery of results-based technical cooperation services moves us closer to attaining our ultimate goal, which is to:
“achieve competitive, inclusive and sustainable inter-American agriculture that feeds the hemisphere and the world, while at the same time generating opportunities to reduce hunger and poverty among farmers and rural dwellers.”
The services and products we provide to the 34 member countries that we represent are intended to promote a more robust public institutional framework, proposals for modern policy proposals, concrete projects and actions aimed at the improvement of agricultural productivity, agricultural chains with more business opportunities, rural territories with inclusive developments plans, knowledge management, and the training of more specialized human talent.
IICA’s Headquarters are located in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Institute has delegations in each of its member countries, as well as a Permanent Office in Spain. Its Director General is Dr. Víctor Villalobos, who heads a team of over 300 professionals drawn from every nation in the Americas.
IICA’s work is summed up in the delivery of eleven contributions to its member countries aimed at:
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.
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.
Increasing the capabilities of the public and private sectors to ensure agricultural health and food safety and thereby improve productivity, competitiveness and food security.
Strengthening the business and associative capabilities of the different stakeholders in the agricultural production chains.
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.
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.
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.
Improving the efficacy and efficiency of food and nutritional security programs in the Member States.
Ensuring that producers and consumers benefit from a greater use of native species, promising crops and native genetic resources with food potential.
Improving institutional capacity to address losses of food and raw materials throughout the agricultural chains.
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.
More than 3500 people working in various chains (cashew, coffee, cacao, flowers, poultry, vegetables, cattle, sheep, goats, sweet potatoes, bees, bamboo, corn and sugar) in 20 countries are better equipped to access markets, add value to their products, strengthen partnerships, generate new business, and innovate.
Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, and Venezuela received proposed policies for improving the performance of family farming (FF), while Chile, Paraguay and Guatemala expanded the capabilities of their FF extension services.
Nine countries have area-based development plans or coordination entities that promote the economic, social and political integration of vulnerable groups in rural territories such as Esmeraldas (Ecuador), Manpoliza (Guatemala), Cariri (Brazil), and Marowijne (Guyana).
As many as 450 technical officers from 65 institutions were trained to implement plans that integrate climate change management into agricultural programs, while another 60 were trained in risk mapping. At least three platforms for sharing knowledge about climate, insurance, and soil and water are operating for the benefit of IICA member countries.
IICA helps representatives of national institutions prepare to play an effective part in global and regional events on climate change, agricultural health, food safety, and trade, among other subjects, and disseminates timely information prior to such events.
The updating and application of tools for the analysis of agrifood chains, such as the MECA methodology, are a first step towards the development of strategies for reducing postharvest losses and improving the efficiency of chains in the member countries.
Timely assessments were carried out of the status of current or potential pests and diseases, such as mollusks (Andean Region), coffee leaf rust (Central America and Jamaica), the carambola fruit fly (Guyana and Suriname), and Huanglongbing (Argentina). IICA also designed strategies for strengthening animal and plant health services, collaborated in efforts to prepare officials to participate in international meetings, and helped the countries gain a better understanding of legal frameworks, including the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), that permit smoother trade between exporting countries.
The Institute organized more than 700 training events designed to enhance the expertise of 51,750 people and share knowledge about various subjects: Codex Alimentarius, good agricultural practices, climate change adaptation, water management, soil use, renewable energies, food safety, risk management, associative enterprises, financing, and market linkages, among others. Furthermore, some 244 scholarship holders from 18 countries are enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs at Mexican universities thanks to the Capacity Building Program to Promote the Development of Agriculture in the Americas, implemented under an agreement between Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) and IICA.
IICA provides most of its cooperation through joint undertakings with important strategic partners, such as the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the World Food Programme (WFP), France’s Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among other international and donor organizations. Coupled with those carried out with ministries, research institutes and national universities, these efforts enable us to fulfill our mission to support the member countries’ endeavors to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being