PDF 2016 Annual Report




Annual Report

What is IICA?

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:

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.

Our continent has the potential to become the world’s leading agrifood producer

Dr. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula
Director General of IICA

Message from the Director General

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will shortly celebrate 75 years of existence as an organization dedicated to supporting its member countries’ efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being.

There are two main reasons for the Institute’s successful longevity: first, the conviction of IICA’s member countries that international technical cooperation is a particularly important tool for complementing and boosting their individual capabilities; and, second, the Institute’s ability to continuously adapt in order to provide the best possible response to the needs of its Member States as they tackle the challenges of the continent’s ever dynamic and changing agriculture sector.

It is the countries of the Americas themselves that continually set the direction and priorities of the technical cooperation provided by IICA. This responsibility is reflected in IICA’s 34 country strategies, which are prepared together with the authorities. All the actions included in them are designed to achieve productive, competitive, inclusive, and sustainable agriculture, because only then will the countries be able to produce the food and byproducts they require from the sector, as well as the other benefits it provides.

A number of studies have suggested that our continent has the potential to become the world’s leading agrifood producer. To harness that potential, we must transform the way we produce, achieving greater efficiency while at the same time maintaining a social and environmental commitment consistent with the principles that undergird international cooperation.

In recent decades, the globalization process has thrown up new opportunities for the development of agriculture, to which we as a region have responded positively. We have opened doors that should never be shut again, because the consequences would be disastrous for millions of producers throughout the Americas. On the contrary, we should increase North-South and South-South cooperation, efforts to develop and complement capabilities, knowledge management, and social inclusion.

The economic performance of agriculture has shown that the sector is highly resilient. In fact, on many occasions it has even grown and been key to ensuring the well-being of millions of people during years of economic instability, such as those seen recently. However, if the sector is to continue to play a decisive role in development, the governments of the countries must lend it every possible support so that, far from being a source of conflicts, agriculture continues to enrich the fertile soil of technical cooperation and collaboration among our peoples.

Seven years ago, the ministers of agriculture identified the four overarching challenges facing the sector. These have not changed and are a) to raise productivity, b) to increase the sector’s adaptation to the effects of climate change, c) to reduce poverty and inequality, and d) to achieve food security. Joint work by all the national and international actors involved remains vital to tackle these challenges.

The Institute focuses its actions on the delivery of international public goods designed to contribute to the countries’ individual and joint efforts. In 2016, we consolidated our results-based cooperation model by coordinating 12 regional integration mechanisms and implementing 5 inter-American projects, 12 multinational projects, and 31 rapid response actions. We also carried out 208 externally funded projects that called for total expenditure of close to USD 110 million.

Those projects and actions enabled us to strengthen the capacity of public institutions to devise and implement agricultural policies and strategies; modernize research, extension, agricultural health and marketing services; support family farming; improve the meshing of production chains; increase the resilience, health, and market access of agricultural production; guarantee more opportunities for development to those who have had the fewest; and promote area-based development, innovation, and sustainability as the principal means to improve agricultural production and the well-being of the actors involved.

Presenting an annual report of the work carried out by IICA is more than a commitment to transparency and accountability; it is also a way of acknowledging the progress made by our Member States on behalf of their peoples. What they achieve thanks to the Institute’s contributions gives them continued confidence in an organization that, in fact, belongs to them. This report is entitled Harvest Times, reflecting the Institute’s achievements since it adopted a results-based technical cooperation model in 2014.

This report on 2016 is especially important for me. It is the last I will be presenting, as my eight-year term at the helm of the Institute draws to an end.

Reflection and an expression of appreciation are therefore in order. The Member States need to reflect on the Institute’s future, as the organization requires technical and financial strengthening to enable it to carry out its mission and tackle the complex future challenges of agriculture in the Americas. For my part, I wish to express my appreciation to IICA’s member countries for allowing me to guide the work of an exceptional group of professionals committed to the Institute’s noble purposes and capable of delivering results despite the serious constraints we face. Thanks to them, we have been able to respond successfully to the confidence placed in us.

This report is an account of our results and of a story we will continue to write in the new times that are approaching.


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.


partner institutions

national and international.


countries benefited

from IICA’s rapid-response actions to strengthen their institutional framework and expand agribusiness.


persons trained

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


scholarship recipients

in Masters and Doctoral degree in 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.


regional mechanisms

in technical cooperation and regional integration.


Year in review

More competitive agricultural chains

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.

Family farming with greater opportunities

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.

Social inclusion in rural territories

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).

More resilient agrifood systems

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.

Participation in global and regional events

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.

Reduction in food losses

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.

Agricultural health and food safety

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.

Knowledge management

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.

2016 Partners

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

A modern corporate management

Strategic objective

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

Knowledge-intensive agriculture

As a result of 745 events, close to 52,000 persons became involved in IICA training or knowledge-sharing programs, and over 500 partner institutions are promoting better practices in agriculture, innovation, health, trade, soil and water management, and development opportunities for rural stakeholders. Noteworthy achievements included the following:

2,000 agricultural chain stakeholders

received training in technological options for:

Producing milk in Trinidad and Tobago

Fruit postharvest in El Salvador

Biological control of bio-inputs for ornamental plants in Paraguay

Sweet potato production in Jamaica

As well as good practices for control of pests and diseases, economic and risk evaluations, cadmium management and carbon footprint.

982 stakeholders

from 44 institutions strengthened their knowledge of trade agreements, the FSMA of the United States, and other topics, as a result of their participation in forums organized by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Regional Organization for Plant Protection and Animal Health (OIRSA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Codex Alimentarius, among other organizations.


1000 participants

from 230 institutions in 20 countries shared knowledge related to business, association and commercial management, as well as value-added.

880 service providers, rural youth and family farmers from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Suriname improved their knowledge of
Food management
Soil and water management
Postharvest losses
Planning, leadership and entrepreneurship.

700 stakeholders

from over 20 countries
strengthened their capabilities in

Good agricultural practices
Detection of veterinary drug residues
AHFS requirements
Safety regulations


10,000 stakeholders to learn

about the status of and outlook for agriculture and rural life in the Americas, the challenges that must be overcome to add value in agriculture, and the future of agricultural trade in the region. The joint publication by ECLAC, FAO and IICA , is enabled is available at

IICA’s Virtual Campus

was modernized, an online education platform, for the benefit of technical personnel, professors and producers associated with the agricultural sector.

The capabilities and scope of

audiovisual production

and migration services were broadened through the use of a full HD multimedia platform, through which audiovisual materials were viewed 57,000 times.

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

244 scholarship recipients from 18 different countries are pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees at Mexican universities, thanks to an agreement between the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico and IICA.

Number of scholarship holders under the CONACYT-IICA program (2016)
244 scholarship holders
  • Alliance of Agricultural Information Services

    The alliance, comprised of 175 national institutions in 22 countries, facilitated access to 3 million references and 238,095 full-text documents archived in 345 databases, which had 3.7 million one-time visitors and 1.3 million recurrent users. Users shared 59,072 articles and documents, which represented the mobilization of over USD 2.3 million through knowledge-sharing.

  • Collection of information management resources - IMARK

    Together with FAO and other international organizations, additional free courses on the Capitalization of Experiences for Continuous Learning as well as Scientific and Technical Writing were included.

  • AgriPerfiles

    In LAC, the Institute spearheaded the adaptation and operation of the VIVO system, whose database of agricultural professionals and specialists in the Americas was broadened. Currently, 2,054 profiles of professionals can be accessed, related to more than 1,762 organizations.

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

    This network provided content to train at least 3,500 people in innovation, food security and climate change. It also facilitated the sharing of experiences in three technological tours and documented 42 successful experiences of the Mexican agricultural sector. The network’s web portal registered 64,684 visits, and its social networking profiles on Twitter and Facebook registered 4,039 and 1,265 followers, respectively.

  • Risk Management and Agricultural Insurance Observatory

    Together with the Latin American Association for the Development of Agricultural Insurance (ALASA) and the Inter-American Federation of Insurance Companies (FIDES), the Institute developed the conceptual framework, structure, content and sustainability measures of this observatory. Performance indicators for the insurance market in Southern Cone countries were also updated.

  • IICA Website

    In 2016, IICA published 45 books and technical documents, all available in digital format and under the system of Creative Commons licenses.

Main publications available online

Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology for Value Chain Problem and Project Identification

Las agriculturas familiares y los mundos del futuro

Good Practices for the Preparation of Digital Soil Maps