Programs and Opportunities
IICA: Instrument of
Change for the Americas
By Mary Rekas
IICA’s Vision and Mission Guide Development Work
transform IICA into a development agency designed
to promote sustainable agricultural development,
food security and prosperity to the rural
communities of the Americas.
support the Member States in their pursuit of
progress and prosperity in the hemisphere through
the modernization of the rural sector, the
promotion of food security, and the development of
an agricultural sector that is competitive,
technologically prepared, environmentally managed,
and socially equitable for the people of the
IICA’s 34 member states have a direct say in
policy through two governing bodies—the IABA
(Inter-American Board of Agriculture), composed of
all member countries, and the rotating 12-member
Executive Committee. Strategizing efforts via
4-year plans, the Institute focuses on sustainable
agricultural development in less developed rural
pursuit of its vision and mission, IICA focuses
its actions on six strategic areas:
trade and agribusiness development
technology and innovation
agricultural health and food safety
sustainable rural development
information and communication
education and training
For more information on IICA programs, see:
October, IICA, the Inter-American Institute for
Cooperation on Agriculture celebrated 63 years of
helping farmers in the Americas.
affiliate of the Organization of American States,
headquartered in Costa Rica, provides technical
cooperation services and facilitates hemispheric policy
dialogue among its 34 members to promote the sustainable
development of agriculture and rural areas.
originally established for research and graduate
training in tropical agriculture. The Institute found
its métier 25 years ago when it began facilitating
technical cooperation in agricultural development in the
institutionalized networking created a forum that
encouraged countries to share experiences and knowledge,
with the end goals of improving agricultural production
and building consensus on trade and technology.
Refocuses on Reform
new vision and mission objectives in hand and the Doha
Development Agenda being negotiated, the Institute now
has the opportunity to advance the participation of
developing countries on the world stage of agricultural
being accomplished by supporting the attendance of IICA
member countries at sanitary and phytosanitary committee
meetings at the WTO (World Trade Organization) meetings
United States would like developing countries to take an
active role in trade negotiations, such as the WTO’s
Doha Development Agenda and the regional Free Trade Area
of the Americas.
It is a
familiar but proven mantra—freer, fairer trade offers
the promise of lifting nations economically. As an
engine of economic growth, open commerce is the best
means for reducing hunger and alleviating poverty.
trade agreements that focus on opening markets, reducing
distortions and improving disciplines produce economic
benefits, particularly for developing countries.
plays an important role in fostering a climate receptive
to free trade. The organization introduces technology
and sustainable agricultural practices that help
producers in developing nations become competitive.
free trade nurtures financial stability, economic growth
and expanded trade in the Western hemisphere.
Member countries are divided into regions:
Central Region: Belize, Costa Rica, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Northern Region: Canada, Mexico, United States
Southern Region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Andean Region: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador,
Caribbean Region: Antigua and Barbudah,
Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic,
Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St.
Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago
European Region: Spain
Developing Country Emphasis
organization works to improve rural well-being in
developing countries by bringing positive changes to the
basic fabric of the agricultural community--in
production, trade and institutions.
accomplish these ends, IICA offers services in training,
research, information exchange, support for meetings and
project formulation and implementation. Through these
processes, IICA’s leadership is focusing on helping
member countries make strides toward economic
development and trade liberalization.
United States has long supported IICA with human and
financial resources. The United States contributes 60
percent of IICA’s $30 million budget. U.S. Department of
State controls those funds and takes the lead with
respect to budget and personnel issues. USDA takes the
lead on matters. As member countries of IICA are current
and future customers for U.S. food and agricultural
products, our partnership with IICA is clearly in the
best interests of U.S. farmers, ranchers and exporters.
Trade Capacity Building a Must
Independent, financially secure countries can
participate as full partners in the global community.
Enabling developing countries to achieve this capability
in international forums helps create an environment that
promotes trade and investment. Trade capacity building
programs enhance participation by these countries.
United States sees IICA as a prime vehicle for
strengthening grass-roots agriculture in the Americas.
With this objective in mind, USDA has supported several
trade capacity building programs through IICA.
serving as the Secretariat of the Market Information
Organization of the Americas in promoting
harmonization in market reporting systems
supporting attendance of IICA members at the World
Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary
Committee meetings in Geneva
addressing health and food safety concerns through
building the Codex Alimentarius capacity
advancing biotechnology through development of a
the challenges are many, so are the opportunities. IICA
makes a difference in the lives of the peoples of the
Americas through agricultural development.
Mary Rekas is a public affairs specialist in the FAS
Public Affairs Division. E-mail: