Central American agricultural policy under debate

Ricardo Montero during the round table.


A group of researchers and professors met with Ricardo Montero López, specialist in Regional Policies and Integration and currently technical coordinator of the Executive Secretariat of the Central American Agricultural Council, to analyze the new strategic lines of the Central American Agricultural Council’s policy agenda during his visit to Loyola Andalucía University.

The Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) has dedicated its efforts to the design of a new regional policy that includes small producers and unions, rescuing the policy of family agriculture; that adapts to current challenges and new realities, focusing on climate change and the need to promote a more sustainable, inclusive and competitive agriculture. This has materialized in the Agricultural Policy for the SICA Region 2019-2030.

This was emphasized by Ricardo Montero, who placed special emphasis on the importance of achieving effective institutional coordination in order to reflect the demands of the countries. The CAC advocates a structure that links regional and national policies, with joint strategies and promoting dialogue between the public and private sectors to ensure greater movement and development of the agricultural sector and the rural milieu.

To achieve all this, some of the strategies proposed by the CAC include the creation of a standardized model for assessing risks and avoiding losses, establishing technical groups in which leadership is promoted based on affinity with the subject matter of each strategic area of work (competitiveness and agribusiness; sustainable and climate-adapted agriculture; innovation and technological development; agricultural health and food safety; and effective institutional coordination) and monitoring and evaluating the policy by including a baseline and a portfolio of regional projects in the Implementation Plan.

The ETEA Foundation and the CAC, twenty years working together

The Central American Agricultural Council is the body of the Central American Integration System (SICA), made up of the Ministers responsible for Agriculture of Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Since the Tenth Summit of Presidents of the region held in El Salvador in July 1991, the CAC has been recognized as the institutional mechanism for linking the agricultural sector with other Central American integration bodies. The Executive Secretariat is responsible for providing technical and administrative support to the Council of Ministers and is the legal representative of the CAC, which is exercised by its Executive Secretary.

The relationship between the Executive Secretariat and the ETEA-Instituto de Desarrollo Foundation began more than two decades ago, as the Foundation has actively participated in the formulation of the ACC’s regional policies. One of its teams led the technical assistance to support the formulation of the Central American Agricultural Policy 2007-2017, predecessor of the one presented by Ricardo Montero.

In addition, participation in the formulation, monitoring and implementation of the Central American Strategy for Territorial Rural Development (ECADERT) has been very intense since its approval in 2010. The ETEA Foundation has been one of the institutions that formed the Platform for Technical Support to ECADERT, coordinated by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA-OAS). Recently, Pedro Caldentey and Lorenzo Estepa coordinated a technical assistance for the elaboration of the ECADERT Action Plan 2018-2021, and several professors from Loyola Andalucía University have participated in its implementation from their position in international programs and agencies (EXPIDER/IDB; PIDERAL/IICA and Spain-SICA Fund).