Washington, February 3, 2010 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO), with the assistance of external specialists, are evaluating the impact of 46 research projects that continue to increase the productivity and competitiveness of small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Hugo Li Pun, Executive Secretary of FONTAGRO, indicated that the post evaluation has three main objectives:
• To validate the contribution of research to resolving the problems or limitations of agriculture from the perspective of climate change.
• To document the socio-economic, environmental and institutional benefits to the investor countries, as well as to provide feedback.
• To increase the visibility of FONTAGRO and to attract co-investors to the calls for projects as well as for the execution of projects.
The evaluation of the economic, social, environmental and politico- institutional impacts of the projects is the responsibility of a team of international experts.
Additionally, a bibliometric analysis of publications and citations will be done to clarify the relevance of FONTAGRO in the advancement of science in the region.
Since its inception in 1998, the fund has supported 73 projects, the combined value of which is approximately US$67 million. FONTAGRO has contributed $10 million, while another US$14.6 million has been co-financed and more than $42 million was derived from the executing institutions.
According to Priscilla Henríquez, specialist in management of technological innovation, and IICA representative at FONTAGRO, the evaluation is aimed at establishing the importance of innovation, so that small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean can contribute to generating it and take advantage of technology and knowledge.
He added that this appropriation does not only happen by way of the market, but also through the natural capacity for innovation of the farmers.
Moreover, the evaluation will generate incentives for other nations and organizations to join in the work of the agricultural fund, which today has 15 members.
The research supported by FONTAGRO, focuses on linking small-scale agriculture to markets, on its contribution to food security and on achieving better food safety and quality, which in turn creates new business opportunities.
Equally supported are projects that take advantage of the natural agricultural biodiversity of the countries and promote sustainable use of natural resources as well as adaptation of agriculture to climate change.
FONTAGRO is a mechanism for sustainable financing of research and technological innovation in agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its patrons are IICA, which provides technical support, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which acts as administrator and provides legal, financial and logistical support.
The research projects are carried out by institutions from two or more countries that are members of the Fund, which have come together as consortiums and are selected on a competitive basis.
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