Policies to improve the performance of family farming (FF): Honduras, Peru, and Colombia consolidated their knowledge of the specific characteristics of FF, reflected since in the inclusion of the issue in public agendas. In Honduras and Colombia, IICA drafted proposed policies that were presented to the pertinent authorities. Moreover, information about Peru’s national FF strategy was disseminated among two mancomunidades (indigenous communities). Leaders of national FF committees, government officials, researchers and specialists from Central America, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, and Spain identified opportunities for improving policies, services, and modes of organization for FF.

Regulatory frameworks for inclusive territorial development: in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, and Suriname, IICA worked with 147 national and subnational government institutions to enhance their capabilities for the design, implementation and participatory management of institutional frameworks, policies and instruments for the promotion of inclusive area-based development. The institutions concerned work in a wide range of areas, including agriculture, rural and community development, social development and inclusion, women, youth, indigenous populations, planning, natural resources and the environment, agricultural research, education, and health. As many as 562 technical officers took part in 77 national events and 62 events at the territorial level. IICA’s cooperation efforts led to concrete results in a number of countries. In Costa, Rica the government endorsed the public policies for area-based development and inclusion; in Ecuador, the Provincial Strategy for Social and Productive Inclusion was adopted; and Mexico approved the Regional Community Ecotourism Strategy.

Master Plan for the Western Region of Panama: this plan, developed jointly by the public and private sectors, is an innovative model that will be financed with USD 557 million in national resources and a USD 157 million loan from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). Designed to promote the recovery of the agricultural sector in the Western Region, it will benefit 15,000 Panamanian producers.

Rural extension for FF: the technical assistance and extension services of Paraguay, Venezuela and Honduras received proposals for improvements that are now being implemented, while rural extension management capabilities were boosted in Guatemala and Chile.

Associative encounters: Through the application of an IICA methodology on associative encounters and internships in family farming, 65 organizations in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Chile, El Salvador, Venezuela and Ecuador strengthened their associative management capabilities to improve their performance, access to services and commercial linkages.

One Village, One Product (OVOP): Together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the OVOP strategy was applied in order to build the capabilities of small and medium-scale producers in the Costa Rican communities of Turrialba, Dota and Zarcero, and, in this way, facilitate their access to local markets.

Greater marketing and entrepreneurial capabilities: Within the framework of the EU-funded Agricultural Policy Program, 150 producers from 15 Caribbean countries benefited from training activities and new marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and governance tools. The governance capabilities of 30 groups in eight of those countries were also improved.

Improved social management capabilities: A total of 501 persons from 18 countries successfully completed four virtual peer-learning modules, of 30 to 40 hours each, on FF territorial systems and social management methodologies for the development of rural territories. Additionally, 125 technical specialists from Guatemala, Paraguay and Colombia strengthened their capabilities in social management of development, through their participation in four in-person, 16-hour workshops led by IICA. As a result, 25 territorial management organizations and ten local, inter-municipal and sub-national governments strengthened their capabilities in social management of territories.

More solid production systems: Fifty family farmers, technical specialists and authorities from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru broadened their knowledge of public policy strategies that can beimplemented to promote rural development and FF, as well as innovative practices geared toward improving management of production systems, food availability and product marketing. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana, FF dynamics and production strategies were described.

Broadened inclusion opportunities: Through their participation in eight meetings focused on area-based coordination, dialogue and consensus-building, 68 government institutions, 19 non-governmental organizations and 104 FF organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic improved their capabilities in the areas of organization, planning, social management, collective action and political advocacy. To this end, different activities were carried out to provide training, share experiences and practices, territorialize policies, create territorial plans, prepare participative management instruments, and implement initiatives related to economic and production aspects.

Rural families included in development: Through affirmative actions and good inclusion practices, around 1,450 families broadened their participation in decision-making processes undertaken by coordination and consensus-building entities for area-based development. Among other things, the families developed inclusive criteria to foster the participation of vulnerable groups; created networks, associations and cooperatives for women, youth, family farmers, artisans, disabled persons, indigenous peoples, people of African descent and the elderly; assisted in the creation of business plans and the implementation of entrepreneurship projects geared toward generating income and promoting food security; received training in topics related to the specific needs of excluded groups; and established agricultural credit banks and trade fairs to improve the quality of life of rural farmers.

Inclusion through capacity-building: Over 1,500 people (40% women and 27% young persons) from selected territories in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Suriname strengthened their capacities in topics related to empowerment, such as self-esteem, leadership, assertiveness, conflict management, associative undertakings and political advocacy.

Organization and leadership in territories: Over 98 FF economic organizations in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico and Suriname strengthened their organizational capabilities, as well as the leadership capabilities of over 760 officers and leaders through their participation in activities focused on economic organization, production certifications, administration of agricultural credit banks, commercialization, rural tourism and ecotourism, among other topics.

New generation of rural leaders: Over 200 rural leaders in Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras developed their collaborative and entrepreneurial leadership capabilities through interactive training processes carried out using the “Unleashing Local Energies” methodology developed by IICA as an international public good. This process was funded using IICA resources as well as resources from European Commission projects in Colombia, the World Bank in El Salvador, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in Mexico and counterpart national institutions in the participating countries.

Support for rural youth: Central American countries and the Dominican Republic established a regional network and support plan for rural youth, with representatives from the Presidency, Agriculture and Rural Development ministries; national institutions responsible for this topic; and national youth networks in the eight countries that form part of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

Knowledge management for inclusive area-based development: The Strategic Management System for Area-based Development and Family Farming (SiGET), a hemispheric tool that provides access to systematized information on area-based development and social inclusion, enabled countries to take advantage of a validated methodological proposal for social management of inclusive area-based development, six conceptual and methodological book chapters on FF area-based systems, learning materials and other capacity-building materials and resources that provide technical assistance in inclusive area-based development processes.

AgroEnlace, a bridge for sharing knowledge (Spanish Only)
Throughout the year many voices allowed us to travel through the Americas and discover experiences that encourage us to consider fundamental issues for the construction of a sustainable, competitive and inclusive agriculture. This last encounter of 2016 allows us to thank participants for the wide-ranging and generous exchange of knowledge that we have shared.