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Innovators from Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico win the 2019 INNOVAGRO award

Mexico City, 21 May 2019 (IICA). The Executive Committee of the Network for the Management of Innovation in the Agrifood Sector (Red INNOVAGRO) has announced the recipients of the 2019 INNOVAGRO Award. Innovations developed in Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico were selected as the winners in the Social Innovation, Institutional Innovation and Technological Innovation categories, respectively.

The members of the jury, which was overseen by the Consultative Forum for Science and Technology (FCCyT, an autonomous Mexican entity that is responsible for analyzing the development of science, technology and innovation), evaluated 36 initiatives (22 related to technological innovation, seven related to institutional innovation and seven related to social innovation) from 12 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico and Peru.

The award will be presented during the Ninth INNOVAGRO Meeting – 2019 “Innovation Roadmap, International Seminar on the Circular Bioeconomy and Innovation Ecosystems,” and INNOVAGRO Assembly, which will be held in Cordoba, Spain, from 11 to 14 June.

The award winner in the Technological Innovation category was “Glumix Biofertilizers” (Mexico), which was entered into the competition by the National Coordinating Agency for the Produce Foundations (COFUPRO) via Fundación Guanajuato Produce, and developed by José Luis Velasco Silva.

Glumix is an innovative biofertilizer formulated with select strains of arbuscular mycorrhiza, which are characterized by an extremely efficient uptake of phosphorus and other nutrients; resistance to stress conditions resulting from droughts, salinity, freezing temperatures and excessive rainfall; as well as greater tolerance to diseases.

This eco-friendly solution integrates technological and quality management, with the aim of researching, producing and marketing sustainable technologies that protect crops.

An idea presented by the University of Cordoba (UCO) in Spain and developed by Jesús Antonio Gil Ribes, a professor at UCO, entitled “Innovation via pre-commercial public procurement, as a link between consumers, the business sector and the university - Mecaolivar and Innolivar CPP,” received the award in the Institutional Innovation category.

Via a new funding tool known as Pre-Commercial Public Procurement (CPP), the University of Cordoba has managed the procurement of innovative goods and services from the olive sector in order to create new equipment, improve public R+D+I services offered to society, and, in turn, develop and implement public policies aimed at solving issues faced by the sector.

The innovation involves the joint development (UCO-companies) of machine prototypes with high technological value as well as the corresponding trials, to make the olive oil sector more competitive and dynamic.

The awardee in the Social Innovation category was an initiative entitled “Indigenous family farming that is resilient to the effects of climate change,” which was put forward by the Foundation for the Development and Promotion of Agricultural Technology Research and Transfer (FITTACORI) of Costa Rica and developed by Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible, with assistance from personnel of the Rural Development Institute (INDER) and integrated development associations for the Talamanca, Cabécar and Bribrí indigenous territories.

This innovation highlights the value of ancestral knowledge as a means of adapting to climate change and strengthening actions undertaken in indigenous populations. The application of comprehensive production systems allows for capitalizing on ancestral practices in order to increase the resilience of crops to climatic risks, and contributes to protecting indigenous knowledge, both in terms of production and as a bastion of food security.

Other awards

The jury awarded an honorary mention in the Social Innovation category to an initiative presented by the Delegation in Bolivia of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which reassigns value to local knowledge and adapts new technologies to the sustainable production of organic cañahua and related value-adding processes. The project was developed by Granja Samiri in Oruro, Bolivia.

A Food Security Management System proposed by Ganaderos Productores de Leche Pura de México (an investment promotion corporation of Mexican dairy farmers), which focuses on the collection, loading, transportation and unloading of raw milk, also received an honorary mention.

Under the Technological Innovation category, an honorary mention was awarded to the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) of Argentina, for its innovation aimed at incorporating native biological control agents into the sanitary management of pests in fruit trees.
The INNOVAGRO Award fosters the development of innovations that contribute to increasing productivity, competitiveness, sustainability and social inclusion in the agrifood sector, and provides recognition for the efforts, solutions, originality and discipline of different groups, companies and institutions, for the benefit of agrifood chains.

The results and verdict of the evaluation process are available at:

More information:

Silvia López, communications officer at the IICA Delegation in Mexico