By Comunicaciones

In addition, during the meeting, the plan of activities for the coming period was approved.

Photo: FONTAGRO meeting participants

 (Guayaquil, Ecuador, October 18, 2018). The XXII Annual Meeting of FONTAGRO’s Board of Directors was held on October 4-5 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Ecuador’s Institute for Agricultural Research (INIAP) hosted the meeting. In attendance were INIAP’s Executive Director, Dr. Juan Manuel Domínguez, along with representatives of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay, as well as special guests from Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico.

On this occasion, the meeting was preceded by the 17th Ibero-American INIA System Meeting, held in conjunction with the FONTAGRO meeting for the fourth time; the main topic of this meeting was governance in national agricultural research institutions in the region.

Ms. Marta Arizaga, Under Secretary for Research at the Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (SENESCYT) participated in the opening. She commented on “the importance of FONTAGRO’s networking and coordination efforts for the countries, as well as FONTAGRO’s work to facilitate direct dialogue on domestic science and innovation policies.”

FONTAGRO’s system of governance includes convening annual meetings of its member countries, represented on the Board of Directors, to examine the results of the preceding period and plan activities and to approve different co-financing projects and proposals for the subsequent period.

On this occasion, co-financing in the amount of US$1.11 million was approved, with a counterpart contribution of US$3.55 million from the participating institutions. The proposals approved are as follows:

  • 2018 Call for Proposals: Scaling up Continuing Improvements in Organic Bananas Exported from Family Farms (BOXF)
  • 2018 Call for Proposals: Sustainable Control of the HLB Vector in Family Farming in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay
  • Seed Fund: Water Management in Agriculture, 2030-2050
  • Seed Fund: Gene Editing to Genetically Enhance Plant and Animal Species
  • Consensus project: “Multi-agency Cacao Platform, 2030-2050”



Among the proposals approved for funding, two projects from the 2018 Call for Proposals related to “Scaling up Innovations to Improve Family Farming in Latin America and the Caribbean” stand out.

The project for scaling up [the improvement of] organic bananas exported from family farms was approved for FONTAGRO funding and will be spearheaded by the Dominican Republic. Organic bananas support more than 10,000 families, with more than 30,000 hectares in Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic generating weekly revenues and employing both family and local workers.

The second project plans to scale up an integrated management system for preventing and controlling the disease, Huanglongbing (from the Chinese, meaning “yellow dragon disease”), better known as HLB, or by its name in English – citrus greening. HLB is considered to be the most destructive disease affecting citrus plants in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, with nearly 226,000 hectares and more than 6,000 family farmers who have suffered millions in losses.

The Board of Directors decided to approve a broader-scope consensus project for the creation of a Multi-agency Cacao Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean ‘Cacao 2030-2050’”, which will be executed jointly by INIAP and the ESPOL Polytechnic University, both from Ecuador, along with research institutions from the region and public and private agencies from nine countries.

The Board of Directors applauds all those who submitted the proposals, as well as the proposals’ leads and invites them to continue working to develop agriculture in the region.

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FONTAGRO is a sustainable co-financing mechanism that promotes research, development, and innovation in agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was established in 1998 and is comprised of 15 member states that have contributed approximately US$100 million in capital. FONTAGRO is sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Its Technical and Administrative Secretariat is based at IDB headquarters in Washington, D.C. FONTAGRO has co-financed more than 135 projects and initiatives for its member countries in the amount of nearly US$105.5 million, including contributions from other funders and executing agencies. The countries that conform FONTAGRO are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


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