In order to reverse worsening rural income distribution trends and growing environmental degradation, Central American policymakers need sound and timely information—based on policy research—to support rural development with adequate policy, innovation and investment strategies. Such information is becoming increasingly valuable given current trends toward more open economies and growing pressure on the public sector from donors and lenders to allocate investments in ways that result in lasting and sustainable solutions to the problem of rural poverty.
IFPRI’s Central America program contributes by providing science-based solutions and generating information on policy options for reducing rural poverty. The program is developing a coordinated IFPRI research and outreach strategy for Central America founded on policy-related scientific research, capacity strengthening, and communication of research results.
- Provide information and knowledge to assist in the design of policy strategies for poverty alleviation and sustainable rural development in Central America.
- Provide information and knowledge to promote change and innovation in agriculture and food production and processing so to meet increasing competition in local and global markets.
- Provide research-based policy options for effectively managing the rapidly changing external economic environment and the resulting transition problems relating to food and agriculture.
- Create and strengthen collaboration between IFPRI researchers and Central American research institutions and individuals.
- Engage in policy dialogue with government bodies, other researchers, and members of civil society, and use appropriate communication channels to disseminate research results to the region.
- Strengthen the national analytical capacity in the regions through collaborative research and training.
The program has a strong focus on the three poorest countries in the region: Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. These are the countries with the largest total populations, the highest percentage of rural population, the lowest poverty-reduction impact from economic growth, and what is generally perceived to be the poorest governance.
Managed by IFPRI’s Development Strategy and Governance (DSG) Division, the program is conducted by internationally and locally recruited staff. The team works closely with the Regional Unit for Technical Assistance (RUTA).