Policies with an impact on agriculture:Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru received support with the design of policies, plans and agreements, administrative processes and international or regional regulations, which benefited 14 agricultural chains. IICA trained officials from 133 institutions and 522 actors in milk regulations, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), biosafety, and value added, among other subjects. Under the Agriculture Policy Programme financed by the European Union (EU), IICA worked with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to improve the policy structures of 15 Caribbean countries. Eight of them also increased their capabilities for implementing national agriculture plans.

Policy monitoring and evaluation:more than 95 officials and technical officers of the agricultural policy units of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay increased their knowledge of good practices and lessons learned for following up on, monitoring and evaluating agricultural policies, thanks to joint work with partner institutions in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Canada.

High-quality seeds: the EU-financed Regional Program for Research and Innovation in Agricultural Value Chains (PRIICA) enabled the research institutes of Central America to release germplasm of improved cassava, potatoes, avocadoes and tomatoes for 5314 beneficiaries. Coupled with a large number of training events, this work improved productivity, competitiveness and food security in the region. Furthermore, community seed banks and other mechanisms facilitated access to, and the production of, high-quality seed.

Family farming (FF) seal: in Paraguay, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock adopted a commercial innovation process based on a strategy aimed at establishing a differentiating seal for FF, which was designed with technical personnel and social organizations. The objective is to raise the profile of FF products in the marketplace. (Usar sello para hacerlo identificable)

Promotion of innovation: within the framework of the Network for Innovation Management in the Agrifood Sector (Red Innovagro), which is made up of 82 public and private institutions in 16 Latin American and European countries, the following three technological innovation processes were implemented: a) method for the biological control of the olive-tree fly in Spain, b) a state-of-the-art adjuvant for vaccines for production animals in Argentina involving the use of nanoparticles in an aqueous solution; and c) an app for determining the fertilization needs of rice crops in Uruguay. Seminars, video conferences, and workshops were organized to enhance the expertise of 3500 people.

Program for Regional Agricultural Research Consortia: under this program, financed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by IICA, research topics for 18 agricultural chains were prioritized by mapping actors and conducting assessments in the Guatemalan departments of Alta Verapaz, Quiché, Chiquimula, Zacapa, Quetzaltenango San Marcos, and Huehuetenango.

Modern market information systems: the Market Information Organization of the Americas (MIOA), which has 33 active member countries, provided IICA with an opportunity to develop a new study program on agricultural market information and analysis with universities in Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago; prepare a catalogue of 39 commercially important products in Central America; and exchange good practices and innovative experiences on price information management.

Strategies for animal health and plant protection services: use of the Performance, Vision and Strategy (PVS) tool developed by IICA made it possible to define strategic actions for the plant protection services of Ecuador, Argentina, and El Salvador; determine the emergency response capacity in Uruguay and Chile; and strengthen the veterinary and food safety service of Ecuador.

Compliance with international standards: IICA was instrumental in increasing implementation of good agricultural practices in the region to facilitate compliance with the U.S. FSMA, in raising awareness of the act among public and private actors, and in certifying 45 food safety professionals in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago as lead instructors.

New plant health capabilities: institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, all members of the Plant Health Committee (COSAVE), strengthened their technical capabilities in plant health and have tools for carrying out general phytosanitary surveillance processes. In addition, their plant health inspectors were enrolled as students in the International Module of the Regional Virtual School for Food Inspectors, in order to prevent the entry of pests and guarantee safe trade in agricultural products. Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Ecuador participated in programs to strengthen plant health management.

Economic impact studies in Argentina: IICA contributed to national decision-making on sanitary matters by conducting studies with the National Health and Agrifood Quality Service (SENASA) on the economic impact of Huanglongbing on citrus fruits and Lobesia botrana on vines.

Impact of animal health programs: as members of the Standing Veterinary Committee (CVP), the six countries that make up the Southern Region have a methodology for evaluating the economic impact of their programs.

Practices in chicken production in Venezuela: in this country, 100 public and private interest groups were trained in good agricultural practices for chicken production, and a study was carried out in order to create guides on good poultry practices.

Competitive chains: IICA strengthened the competitive, sustainable and inclusive management of several chains: coffee and cocoa in Panama, flowers and sheep in Paraguay, fruits in El Salvador, dairy goats in Trinidad and Tobago, poultry in Venezuela, vegetables in Argentina and sweet potato in Jamaica. This was accomplished through the establishment and strengthening of collaborative roundtables, the use of manuals and the drafting of business plans. A total of 1,900 chain stakeholders received training in technological options for milk management, postharvest of fruits, bio-inputs for ornamental plants, sweet potato farming, pest and disease control, economic and risk evaluations, cadmium management, and carbon footprint, among other topics.

Defining the potential of avocado in Honduras: As a result of activities carried out within the framework of PRIICA, 195 stakeholders of the avocado chain in Honduras now have an inventory of farming areas, as well as a certification manual for nurseries. This will enable the sector to understand its potential, guarantee the production of high-quality avocado plants, and increase the productivity and performance of avocado plantations.

Fair trade certification: Five hundred small-scale producers, who form part of 47 organizations that are certified, or are in the process of becoming certified, improved their marketing, association, leadership, strategic planning, value-adding, project design and fair trade capabilities. Twenty-five of these organizations have contacted buyers who are interested in coffee, cacao, chocolate, pineapple and banana, among other products.

Promotion of agrifood businesses: IICA consolidated the Platform for the Promotion, Knowledge Management and Prospects for Agribusiness in South America (AgroSur Network), which enables nine countries in the Andean and Southern regions to analyze new trade and agrifood investment scenarios.

Increased trade with the United States: The plantain, cassava and coffee chains in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Peru, respectively, identified the challenges that must be overcome in order to strengthen trade with the United States, following the participation of 80 representatives of 50 government agencies and businesses in training activities organized by IICA.

Chain analysis and efficiency: The Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology for Problem and Project Identification (CSAM) was updated with support from the original authors and the Postharvest Education Foundation. This methodology allows for identifying weaknesses throughout chains that result in food losses, as well as developing solutions to problems identified. The methodology was applied in Peru in the hard yellow corn chain, which support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI), the Agraria Norte Chico cooperative (COOPANORTE) and the Ecumenical Center for Promotion and Social Action (CEDEPAS Norte). It was also applied by Uruguay in the lettuce chain, with support from the Mercado Modelo (Model Market) and the General Directorate of Farms (DIGEGRA) of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP).

Reduced food decomposition: In St. Kitts and Nevis, 31 agro-industrial specialists, professors and farmers received training in food management, health and safety, value-added and sustainability of their businesses. As a result, mango decomposition and waste were reduced.

Reduced losses in Grenada’s banana chain: Together with the Grenada Marketing and National Importing Board, IICA trained producers and extension workers in techniques for improving the quality of bananas and reducing losses in the harvest, selection, treatment and packaging processes.

Improved management of roots in Dominica: With support from CARDI, the Caribbean Farmers Network (CAFAN), the Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) and the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA), 25 producers, packagers and exporters received training in postharvest management, quality and traceability as it relates to roots.

Sweet potato and cocoa industries in Jamaica: The competitive capabilities of the sweet potato industry in the St. Mary, St. Andrew and Portland communities were improved, which facilitated greater use of this native species. Additionally, the Partnership for the Development of the Cocoa and Blue Mountain Coffee Sectors allowed for taking greater advantage of cocoa to create value-added products, such as chocolate-coated Blue Mountain coffee beans.

Agriculture in the south, a diverse reality
A journey to the south of the continent to learn about the agriculture of a region known as the “world’s granary.” Covering a vast and diverse area, the interior of this region contains a multiplicity of landscapes and types of agriculture. Manuel Otero, IICA consultant and former Representative of the Institute in Brazil and Uruguay, is our host on this journey to the Southern Region of the Americas. Also with Diego Montenegro, Director of Management and Regional Integration at IICA.

Better-informed quinoa producers: The Ministry of Rural Development and Land (MDRyT) of Bolivia possesses an information, knowledge and communication system focusing on different aspects related to quinoa production, commercialization, distribution and consumption, which seeks to improve the situation of stakeholders involved in quinoa production, primarily those who are the most vulnerable.

Coordination of topics in the Southern Region: Relationships with and among member countries of the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) were strengthened through the signing of a cooperation agreement in which the ministries of agriculture of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay reaffirm their commitment to working together on topics of regional interest, especially the production of regional public goods related to AHFS, agricultural sustainability and FF. IICA coordinated the actions undertaken by the secretariats of the Cooperative Program for Agrifood and Agroindustrial Technology Development in the Southern Cone (PROCISUR), the CVP and COSAVE.

Participation in AHFS events: Over 20 countries improved their ability to access markets following their participation in the Seventh International Seminar on Good Agricultural Practices in the Mercosur Region, the Second National Seminar on Good Agricultural Practices of Argentina, the Twenty-third Conference of the Regional Commission for the Americas of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Ninth Meeting of the Working Group on Fruit Flies of the Western Hemisphere of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), the regional meeting of representatives of the seven CVP member countries, the Ninth Meeting of the Capacity Development Committee (CDC) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the Twentieth Meeting of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for LAC.

International agenda on biotechnology: Together with public and private institutions in the region, IICA organized 17 training and accompaniment activities related to biotechnology and biosafety, which provided participants with an objective vision based on scientific principles for technology and technical arguments, with the aim of facilitating discussions and decision-making on this topic. Relevant activities included:

  • I Seminar on Synthetic Biology for Biotechnology Decision-Makers of the Americas, organized together with the USDA.
  • Seminar on Biotechnology and Biosafety for Lawyers and Judicial Branch Members (Mexican Bar Association).
  • Series of seminars on biotechnology, biosafety, bio-inputs and their application in the agricultural sector (INIA, Peru).
  • Seminar on the Status of Bolivian Agriculture and Progress Achieved in the Area of Agro-biotechnology (IBCE, Bolivia).
  • Discussion session: The Use of Biotechnology in the Future of Agriculture, held in Nicaragua with support from the USDA.
  • Meeting of the Central American Initiative on Biotechnology and Biosafety.
  • High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, held in Peru.