The Inter-American Development Bank and the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO, for its initials in Spanish) have extended until 2011 their agreement whereby the IDB will continue to manage the Fund, which finances, on competitive basis, agricultural research and technological development projects focused on strategic regional problems in the Americas.
FONTAGRO is a consortium created and financed by 14 regional countries and Spain whose aim is to finance technological development in the rural sector through the creation of alliances of public, private, national and international organizations. It has financed 66 projects totaling $9 million and mobilized $12 million in external resources plus $39 million in member states' counterpart funds, reaching a total of $60 million during its first 10 years.
IDB specialists believe agriculture is one of the sectors that will be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the region. Many crops that are crucial for food production are sensitive to temperature and rain pattern changes that can affect both their quality and their yields.
In 2008, the IDB's Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI) agreed with FONTAGRO to finance three projects on adapting regional productive systems to climate change. These projects will study the vulnerability of crops such as coffee, wheat, corn and potatoes and will be financed with trust fund resources from SECCI's Multi-donor Fund and from the Japanese and Korean trust funds.
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno on May 5 met with FONTAGRO President Leopoldo Sánchez and Vice President Arturo Galo, who gave Moreno a plaque in recognition of the IDB's crucial support during the Fund's first 10 years.
- Paul Constance