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Design of instruments for agriculture:Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Panama and Paraguay received cooperation for the facilitation of agribusiness operations, agroindustrial innovation, adding of value, and formulation and implementation of sanitary measures.

Innovation and chains: The Institute enhanced the expertise of 900 people working in the public and private sectors in eleven chains with regard to the technological options for generating innovations in the areas of agro-ecological production, the use of bioinputs, promotion of product quality, pest control, food loss reduction, and calculation of the water footprint.

Innovation and family farming: The Institute enhanced the capabilities of more than 1000 specialists and leaders of Family Farming (FF) by means of: i) an international event showcasing innovations in FF held in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) in partnership with the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF), the Cooperative Program for Agrifood and Agroindustrial Technology Development in the Southern Cone (PROCISUR) and Paraguay’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) (200 participants from seven countries); ii) various innovative tools and approaches for knowledge transfer in FF (33 Central American specialists), among other courses and studies on policies, extension, innovation, gender, and knowledge management for FF, among other topics.

The program “Associative Encounters: Agribusiness Internships in FF,” which led to the creation of a network of 50 organizations offering internship services (126 members in the Southern, Andean, Central and Caribbean regions).

Access to timely information: Nearly 1500 small and medium-scale producers in the Q’eqchi’ territory in Guatemala now receive information on climate, prices, productive technology, and other matters of interest in Spanish and the Q’eqchi’ language through the TOTOGEO platform, which is managed jointly with the Universidad Rafael Landívar, the Universidad de San Carlos, the Guatemalan Radiophonic Education Federation, the Verapaces Federation of Cooperatives, and the Association of Cardamom Producers, with financial support from the FAS/USDA.

Innovation in Central America: The EU-funded Regional Program for Research and Innovation by Agricultural Value Chains (PRIICA) made available to 4000 members of 24 local innovation consortia more than 25 technologies and practices validated with the national agricultural research institutes of six Central American countries. The technologies and practices were related to tomato, cassava, potato, and avocado varieties, integrated pest and soil management, fertilization, and postharvest and marketing processes, including business plans designed to generate income.

Toward safe trade in food:Working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), IICA trained 1043 public and private sector officials of ten member countries, to give them a better grasp of the requirements for exporting to the U.S., as well as the regulations proposed under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The support provided by IICA to the Plant Health Committee (COSAVE) and the Standing Veterinary Committee (CVP) allowed for the harmonization of sanitary processes to gain access to markets and the resolution of bilateral and multilateral trade issues in the Southern Cone.

A more robust institutional framework for dealing with sanitary matters: Belize and 15 Caribbean countries have draft legislation on matters related to animal health and food safety, manuals on good agricultural practices, coordination mechanisms, improved laboratories, and the support of three regional entities: the Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVet), the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) Forum and the Coordinating Group of Pesticides Control Boards of the Caribbean (CGPC).

Sharing of experiences on the Codex Alimentarius: Thanks to five food safety twinning programs, horizontal cooperation increased among Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Bahamas, Grenada, and Canada. Furthermore, 70 participants in Honduras and El Salvador benefited from two programs aimed at strengthening national Codex committees.

New food inspectors: The Regional Virtual School for Food Inspectors, which was established by the Institute with the support of seven universities (Universidad Rafael Landívar, Universidad José Matías Delgado, Universidad de Agricultura, UNAN León, Universidad de Panamá, Universidad de Costa Rica and Universidad ISA), 150 inspectors from the Dominican Republic and Central America received training in modern inspection techniques to facilitate harmonization of the safety controls of the countries concerned and promote food trade in the region.

Increased capabilities in health-related issues: More than 600 professionals in the Central, Andean, and Caribbean regions received training in good poultry production practices, how to respond to animal health emergencies (incident command system), food safety, antimicrobial resistance, good agricultural practices, traceability, and maximum residue levels, among other topics.

Thirty-eight Central American technical officers were trained in plant inspection and in the compilation of lists of quarantine pests. In the Andean Region, 30 plant health inspectors improved their knowledge of international plant health standards.

Safeguarding the Caribbean, Central, and Andean regions IICA enhanced the expertise of 50 plant health officials in seven Caribbean countries for the control and effective management of outbreaks of quarantine pests; and of ten plant health officers involved in monitoring infestations of red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) in the Caribbean.

Mexico’s plant health status: As it has done for the last 20 years, IICA coordinated the management of a series of programs, such as Moscamed, Moscafrut and Diagnosing-Surveillance of Exotic Pests and Diseases of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food (SAGARPA) and the National Service for Agricultural Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA), thanks to which 51% of Mexico’s territory has remained free from fruit flies, and the entire country free from the Mediterranean fruit fly.

Quarantine control and inspection systems in Haiti and the Dominican Republic: With funds from the U.S. Food for Progress Program, the Institute spearheaded the drafting of sanitary control legislation and regulations, the implementation of an electronic quarantine information system, the operation of incinerators, and the training of nearly 300 inspectors of the ministries of agriculture of the two countries.

With the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (MAPA) of Brazil, IICA implemented a pilot project at Brasilia’s international airport involving the use of detector dogs as part of agricultural controls.

Competitive development of chains:After identifying the critical issues of eleven chains that were prioritized by ten countries in 2014, the Institute promoted the competitiveness of six of them by means of forums and committees on the competitiveness of cashew (Honduras), sweet potatoes (Jamaica), coffee and cacao (Panama), flowers and sheep (Paraguay), goats (Trinidad and Tobago) and poultry (Venezuela).

Enabling environments for business development in the Caribbean: The EU’s Agriculture Policy Programme with focus on the Caribbean and the Pacific, which IICA is implementing in the 15 Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries, conducted research, generated baselines and crafted strategies for the pig, cereal, sweet potato, cassava, beekeeping, herbs and spices, hot pepper, and small ruminant chains.

Agribusiness development: By providing producers with a range of opportunities for sharing experiences, knowledge was generated that will help them to integrate into markets. For example, in the Southern and Andean regions, with the participation of 26 public institutions of ten countries, the South American Platform for Agribusiness Promotion, Knowledge Management and Commercial Prospecting was launched. Additionally, in the Andean, Central, and Southern regions, IICA enhanced the expertise of 722 development agents from 70 public and private institutions, including producers’ organizations, in the areas of competitive management, business development, associative enterprises, and value added.

With support from IICA and USDA, 33 member countries of the Market Information Organization of the Americas (MIOA) strengthened their market information and intelligence services.

Integration into markets: More than 120 small and medium-scale producers in Panama, Costa Rica, and Peru are better equipped to integrate into markets, after IICA, working with national counterparts, promoted opportunities for dialogue and innovative mechanisms such as coffee and cacao fairs (Panama), the “One people, one product” initiative (Costa Rica), and the coffee and cacao agro-export route (Peru).

Export opportunities: IICA’s cooperation was instrumental in 475 Mexican exporting firms benefiting from the creation and consolidation of opportunities for penetrating markets. SAGARPA agricultural attachés at various Mexican embassies supported this effort.

Fifty-one firms received recommendations on how to maintain and improve access to the U.S. export market.

Business ties between Canada, and Peru and Colombia: Producers of cacao, brown sugar paste, and tilapia in Peru and Colombia forged ties with Canadian importers, which resulted in business commitments and training actions on the requirements of the Canadian market for the entry of these products.

Agriculture and tourism: With assistance from the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), 175 public and private stakeholders in ten Caribbean countries enhanced their capacity to insert themselves into markets, mainly those related to tourism.

Adding value in dairy products, cassava, and mangoes: In the Caribbean Region, IICA’s assistance facilitated advances in agroindustrial processes. For example:

  • Training activities in dairy production management and sanitary concerns helped the Trinidad and Tobago Goat and Sheep Society add further value to its products.
  • Under a project aimed at the development of agriculture and rural enterprises in Tapakuma, Guyana, a cassava processing plant was inaugurated that will enable 180 producers in the area to increase their income.
  • 31 mango producers in St. Kitts and Nevis boosted their income after learning about new ways of improving the hygienic conditions of their crops, thereby adding value to their production.

AgroEnlace: Agribusiness Internships: Where Knowledge is Shared (Part 1 y 2). Listen audio (Spanish Only):
IICA agribusiness internships in Latin America and the Caribbean foster the socio-organizational and agribusiness development of family farming through knowledge sharing among farmers’ organizations. Listen to some of the participants.

Increased use of agricultural insurance: IICA promoted the use of agricultural insurance and an integrated vision of risk. Its efforts included inventories of risk maps in Latin America; the training of 210 people from the public and private sectors in El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts, and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay in comprehensive risk management; the holding of the fifth annual symposium on agricultural insurance; and the publication of a study on the performance of the insurance market in the Americas between 2010 and 2014.

Environmental risks in Guatemala: In support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAGA), the Institute conducted an assessment of the environmental risks posed by the possible entry of genetically modified corn materials from Honduras as a result of the bilateral customs union agreement between the two countries.

Training to reduce food losses: With support from PRIICA, a program implemented in Central America and Panama, coordinated by IICA and funded by the EU, a training activity was held involving 22 people from Central America, including IICA specialists. The event focused on the use of the methodology for the evaluation of agrifood chains (MECA) to identify problems and projects, a systematic method for identifying and quantifying the factors that lead to postharvest losses, thus making it possible to detect problems related to product quality in a specific location. This methodology was made available to the member countries, and in 2016 the manual on its application will be updated.

Increase in sweet potato production in Jamaica: Key stakeholders in Jamaica’s sweet potato subsector took part in a mission to North Carolina, U.S.A., to enhance their expertise for the propagation, cultivation, and postharvest management of the Beauregard and Covington varieties. It is estimated that 30 farmers growing the Beauregard variety on 93 acres will harvest 1.2 million pounds of sweet potatoes in March 2016.

The potential of quinoa: Thanks to an IICA study carried out with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the collaboration of Peru’s National Agricultural Innovation Institute (INIA), people from the public and private sectors working in the quinoa chain have up-to-date information on production of the crop and its access to markets. IICA also supported the International Quinoa Center in Bolivia with an information system on the production, marketing, and consumption of the crop, which facilitates interaction among the different stakeholders in the chain.

Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2015: Representatives of the highest-level agricultural authorities in the Americas met in Mexico, where a ministerial declaration was signed that establishes eight commitments aimed at improving the productivity and sustainability of agriculture. This meeting strengthened IICA’s role as an international organization specializing in agriculture and the coordinator of efforts to promote rural well-being.


AgroEnlace: Discussions and Decisions about Agriculture in the Americas. Listen audio (Spanish Only):
Víctor Villalobos, Director General of IICA, shares the results of the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture 2015, the highest-level meeting of the agricultural sector, where decisions were made with the aim of making agricultural production in the region more competitive, inclusive and sustainable.

Inter-American Meeting of National Animal and Plant Health and Food Safety Services (RISAVIA): This meeting enabled 34 countries in the hemisphere to harmonize their priorities with respect to animal and plant health standards, and the subsequent meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA) adopted a resolution calling for efforts to strengthen technical capabilities in this area.


Opening ceremony of RISAVIA. See video (Spanish only):
Speech by the Director General of IICA at the opening ceremony of the Inter-American Meeting of National Animal and Plant Health and Food Safety Services in the Face of the Challenges of International Trade.

Codex Alimentarius: The Institute contributed to capacity building and greater use of the forum by increasing the participation of representatives of the LAC countries in Codex meetings. IICA supported the participation of 60 delegates from LAC and Africa in the first transcontinental colloquium; 37 representatives of 12 countries in Codex committee meetings; 60 delegates from 30 countries in two regional colloquia; and representatives of 16 countries in meetings of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This helped enhance the countries’ regulatory frameworks, develop standards to facilitate agrifood trade and production, improve consumer protection, and balance the multilateral negotiation processes.

A total of 60 delegates from LAC and Africa participated in the first transcontinental colloquium, and 37 representatives of 12 countries participated in Codex committee meetings.

World Trade Organization (WTO): The training of 579 development agents in various subjects (tariff quotas, sanitary measures, environment, trade regulations, food security, trade data and statistical indicators) enabled the countries to closely monitor their commitments and increase their participation in WTO events and negotiation mechanisms.

INNOVATIONS

IICA continues to promote innovation in the agrifood sector, as instructed in the Declaration of the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2011. Specifically, the Institute supported Member States’ efforts to generate the following innovations:

Protected agriculture: Working with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and Guyana’s National Research and Extension Institute, IICA set up two greenhouses, one at the latter institute and the other on the Tain Campus of the University of Guyana, to serve as demonstration facilities for producers and students for research on agricultural productivity and production costs. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Water Management (MAFFW) of Barbados increased its capacity for innovation with protected agriculture systems, with IICA supplying materials and training its staff.

Rice: In the Dominican Republic, 20 producers in the provinces of Monte Plata and Duarte adopted the system of rice intensification (SRI) on 50 hectares of land, after participating in training programs that benefited 100 producers. Research on this system is also under way in Venezuela, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Bioinputs: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua enhanced their capabilities with respect to the use of bioinputs in agriculture, which will impact climate change mitigation and bio-business development. Using an analytical tool developed by IICA, Argentina, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Guyana were able to identify the priorities for developing the institutional framework and regulations for bioinputs.

Biotechnology: IICA produced and revised biotechnology and biosafety proposals in Ecuador and Guatemala that were used to make decisions about the use of genetic modification technology and its products. This will have an impact on the reduction of trade barriers, increase the supply of products and make some of them more competitive.

Renewable energy: Under the joint project being implemented in Peru by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and IICA, entitled “Fund for Sustainable Access to Thermal Renewable Energies (FASERT),” 8518 families acquired improved stoves that use that type of energy. In addition, 59 families whose micro-enterprises make bricks boosted their incomes by 37% and reduced their use of biomass by 10%, avoiding 11.27t of CO2 emissions.

Flowers: IICA promoted the use of agricultural waste for composting and beneficial fungi to control pests and diseases in Paraguay’s flower-growing chain.

Dual-purpose livestock: In Venezuela, IICA worked with the Integrated Dairy Development Program to enhance the skills of 8000 producers through the application of an integrated approach based on the principles of good agricultural practices.

Honey: In several of the Institute’s member countries, honey producers began using Perone hives from Argentina, an innovation for beekeepers who produce honey in barrels. In the Dominican Republic, 155 producers were supplied with 960 hives; in Guyana, 30 beekeepers learned about the technology; and in The Bahamas and St. Lucia 112 producers were trained in permapiculture.

Fish: Under the US-funded Program to Support the Improvement of the Productivity and Competitiveness of the Agricultural Sector (PRESSAC), a system for feeding fish with the aquatic plant Lemna minor was introduced in the municipality of Bayaguana, in the province of Monte Plata in the Dominican Republic. Fourteen demonstration farm modules were set up.

Small ruminants: IICA and the St. Lucia Ruminants Cooperative Society established a forage bank, a national-level innovation that will promote resilience in the value chains of small ruminants.


PRIICA: Work together, Share the Results (Parts 1 and 2). Listen audio (Spanish Only):
Participants in a Central American initiative share the ways in which participatory processes in the areas of agricultural research and technological innovation are contributing to food security for the benefit of small-scale farmers and their families.
PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL

Brucellosis and tuberculosis: Thanks to the joint cooperation efforts of IICA, Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), the National Quality and Animal Health Service (SENACSA), the Ministry of Health and the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA) have trained staff, equipment and supplies for diagnosing these diseases in Paraguay.

Capim annoni (Eragrostis plana): Experts from EMBRAPA exchanged experiences with producers and technical officers in the north of Uruguay with regard to this plant that affects grasslands, thereby contributing to the efforts to prevent and control the weed.

Citrus fruit disease: In Argentina, a country free from Huanglongbing (HLB), IICA concluded a study of the impact that an outbreak of the citrus fruit disease would have on the domestic economy and more than 5000 citrus producers. As a result, several sectors are expected to continue investing in efforts to prevent the entry of the disease.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD): IICA collaborated in the efforts to maintain Paraguay’s status as FMD-free with vaccination, which called for the use of an epidemiological surveillance system and the training of SENACSA staff.

Ticks: IICA prepared guidelines for the management of ticks in cattle in the Andean region.

Microsporidium parasite: IICA Canada’s Research and Internship Assistance Program (RIAP) supported the construction of knowledge in Argentina, Uruguay, and Canada on the optimization of techniques for the early detection of the parasite Nosema ceranae that affects bees.

Mollusk pests: The official services of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Costa Rica, the U.S. and the countries of the Andean region shared experiences and opinions regarding the status and effects of the giant snail (Lissachatina fulica) and the apple snail (Pomacea caniculata).

Rust: Working with Jamaican, Colombian, and U.S. scientists, IICA prepared the profile of an early warning system for managing rust in 12 communities located in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, where 87% of the country’s coffee producers are to be found. Furthermore, Central America and the Dominican Republic will benefit from the EU-funded Program for Integrated Coffee Rust Management (PROCAGICA) whose implementation in 2016 has been assigned to IICA.

The Andean region, Argentina, Costa Rica, and the U.S. have an overview of the impact on health and production of the giant snail and the apple snail in the Americas.