mexicoMexico is a Spanish-speaking country located in Central America, having a 3,141 km. along the northern border with USA. The Pacific Ocean lies in Mexico’s west while the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico border this country on its southeast and eastern sides respectively. Mexico’s population is over 120 million and the name of its capital is Mexico City. The country, which is rated as the tenth in oil production and the first in silver production in the world, is considered as an upper middle-income, newly industrialized nation. A sharp disparity exists between rich and poor segments of its society. Mexico is a federation of 31 sovereign states. The states are administratively divided into municipalities, governed by elected heads.



Mexico’s climate is cool in the north and tropical in the south, except for higher elevations, which have cooler temperatures. The country has two mountain ranges running north to south. Most of Mexico is arid and mountainous, limiting cropping and grazing options. Only 12 per cent of the country’s area is arable, and only 3 per cent of that is irrigated in the northern and the northeastern regions. Most of the rainfall occurs in the tropical south. Mexico has a serious lack of natural water supply, which keeps its vast areas agriculturally unproductive.

Communal farms, called ejidos cover about half of Mexico’s agricultural land. Main food crops and fruits grown are corn, wheat, beans, sorghum, vegetables, bananas, pineapples, and mangoes. Cash crops are coffee, cotton, oilseeds, and sugarcane; coffee and cotton are exported. The livestock sub-sector (cows, goats, sheep and pigs) accounts for about 30 per cent of Mexico’s agricultural output (i.e. milk, poultry, eggs and beef). The United States is Mexico’s biggest trade partner, accommodating about 78 per cent of Mexico’s agricultural exports of winter fruits  vegetables, fruit juices, fresh flowers and live cattle.

According to Mexico’s agricultural census of 1991, about 40 per cent of all private (non-ejido) farmers held either plots of two hectares or less, or plots of two to five hectares. Together, these two groups held only 2 per cent of the privately owned area. In contrast, 2 per cent of all landholders controlled about 63 per cent of the privately owned land. Holdings of 2,500 plus hectares existed mostly in the north and in Chiapas. Although Mexico still has millions of subsistence farmers, yet there is an increasing trend towards export-oriented agriculture. Small-scale Mexican farmers have been staging huge protests against NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement, covering USA, Canada and Mexico)), which has eliminated tariffs on 21 farm products causing enormous inflow of imports into Mexico which the local farmers have to compete with. The farmers are also pitting against the multi-national US-based company Monsanto, which is aggressively trying to bring thousands of hectares in Mexico under the GM (genetically modified) corn. Several agricultural reform measures are being taken by the government under its agricultural policy “Alliance for the Countryside”. Mexico hosts the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), known globally for its distinguished research on wheat that led to the Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution in many developing countries during the 1960s and 1970s.

Key Statistics and Indicators




Agricultural land (sq. km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)











Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)



Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)









GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)











Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)





Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*



















Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO


History of extension and the enabling environment

In the early 20th century, the Mexican Revolution changed many things including the culture of plantation agriculture and vast livestock ranches, which led to the official distribution of communal land among indigenous groups as well as farmers’ groups of ejidos.  In 1842, President of Mexico established Directorate General of Industry within which a department was created to promote agriculture. In 1853, the Ministry of Development handled matters related to the promotion of agriculture, colonization and irrigation. In 1853, a National Agricultural College was established in Mexico, while the Particular Agricultural School was started in 1906 in Chihuahua State. As the new land owners needed agricultural guidance, small groups of agronomists took this task upon themselves as early as 1911 and started delivering extension advice. In 1917, the Ministry of Public Works changed its name to Ministry of Agriculture and Economic Development.

The so-called “cultural missions” played an important role in the non-formal education of rural people in Mexico during the 1920s, which was in fact extension work. In 1923, the first cultural mission comprising seven missionary teachers was fielded by the Secretary of Education in order to train rural teachers in a number of subjects including rural education, small industries and agriculture, so that they could teach these subjects to the villagers. For demonstration purposes, practical agricultural sessions were held in private gardens. Later, the benefits of this approach inspired the Secretary of Agriculture who added two agronomists to the future teams to lecture on agriculture, livestock rearing and apiculture; other team members covered small industries like soap making, carpentry, tanning, and cooking, home economics, music, and physical hygiene.

Based on the success of the first cultural mission, the Secretary of Education fielded six missions in 1924 with larger teams. In 1925, eleven sites were selected for these missions to visit and teach. By 1927, these cultural missions had been institutionalized to cover the areas of social work, small industries, agriculture, and physical culture. Only those rural communities were visited by the missions, which had 2,000 to 3,000 habitants. Demonstrations were conducted in the government schools located in the vicinity of communities. The subjects covered by the agricultural members of the missions were agriculture, raising hens, rabbits and pigeons, apiculture, sericulture and rural construction.

A Regional Agricultural School was established in 1923 in Antonio Narro. Institute of Veterinary Medicine was opened in 1929. In 1932, the Ministry of Agriculture and Development created Department of Experimental Fields within the Directorate of Agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was established in 1934. The School of Agriculture at the Instituto y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (commonly known as ITESM or Monterrey Tech) was founded in 1948 in Monterrey in Nuevo Leonin State as a private institution with the support of Rockefeller Foundation. In 1958, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was given a mandate for the provision of technical advice on all aspects of agricultural production, livestock, poultry, bee-keeping and forestry.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Mexican Agriculture Program (MAP), which operated from 1943 to 1965, brought about the Green Revolution not only in Mexico but several other countries, especially in Asia. By 1970, Mexico had developed the System of Agricultural Technological Education that comprised 20 agricultural education agencies. Several agricultural schools were over the years transformed into agricultural universities.  In 1971, a Division of Agricultural Extension was created within the federal Department of Agriculture. Agricultural extension staff not only provided extension services but also performed regulatory duties. The extension services were provided free of charge to the farmers who were not members of ejidos and held less than 100 hectares of land. Other farmers had to pay fees no matter whether they used government extension services or private consultants; most farmers preferred the latter option.    

In 1976, the government’s Rural Credit Bank initiated its own extension service. This extension staff provided assistance to those farmers who had taken credit from the bank.  In 1989, when the International Coffee Agreement collapsed, the Mexican government withdrew subsidies that supported extension, training, marketing and credit services. Later, after about 12 years, special arrangements were made for the provision of private extension and advisory services to the coffee growers.  

Starting 1992, many commodity-based organizations were formed, which started hiring their own extension staff. In order to cover those farmers who could not afford to pay, the federal and state governments outsourced the extension services to private extension consultants using public funds.  The government initiated several structural changes in the agricultural sector with the intention of reducing the public role and transferring of production and delivery of goods and services to private organizations and enterprises. Consequently, state government budgets and credit for social extension programs were reduced. The national public extension service in Mexico, which had 25,000 employees, was dismantled in 1994.

The same year (1994), a new system of self-managed extension was created to modernize agriculture, improve the productivity, and take care of social welfare. The new system was called Sistema Veracruzano de Autogestion Productiva (SIVAP), which initially covered 425 rural leaders and 3,168 followers from 348 rural communities. As many as 60 extension workers from 13 private offices joined the program. SIVAP was a semi-private program of agricultural development funded by the government and included a part aimed at the privatization of technical assistance, training and extension services. While salaries of the extension staff were paid by the federal and state governments, the cost of extension services was to be borne by recipient farmers. Extension agents played the role of agricultural extension officers, and successful farmers were expected to share their knowledge and skills with other farmers. Thus both public and private institutions, including business organizations, participated in SIVAP. However, as an evaluation study in 1997 found, the program suffered from several problems and contributed very little towards privatization.

In 1995, private PRODUCE Foundations (Fundacion PRODUCE) were established in all 32 Mexican states. The objectives of establishing these foundations, whose boards are dominated and chaired  by farmers, were to facilitate effective stakeholder participation, to decentralize priority setting, project implementation, and devolve the financing of agricultural research and technology transfer activities to the state level. Presently, these foundations also manage competitive funding schemes for agricultural research and technology transfer activities. Activities of the PRODUCE Foundations are coordinated by a National Coordination Office (COFUPRO – Coordinadora Nacional de las Fundaciones PRODUCE).

In 2000, the federal government decreed that private extensionists prepare and implement extension projects in collaboration with the groups of small farmers. Funds for these projects were jointly provided by the government and the farmers’ groups. Government officials not only made sure that all requirements were met, but also evaluated the project progress and extensionists’ performance.

The present system of extension in Mexico can be best classified as a demand-driven, pluralistic public-private partnership. According to a 2011 an anonymous PowerPoint presentation, there were 8,000 private contractors in Mexico, engaged in extension and advisory work. These contractors are paid through public assistance programs for farmers as technical assistance is an integral part of the subsidy programs. In other words, the government instead of having a public extension organization is following outsourcing modality under which contracts are given to the non-public extension service providers. According to a survey conducted in 2006 involving small and medium strawberry producers in Michoacán,  buyers like exporters, agro-industry and the informal sector are key sources of technical assistance (for 41 per cent of producers), training (54 per cent), and credit (45 per cent). Moreover, companies selling agro-chemicals (65 per cent) and other producers (30 per cent) were key sources of technical assistance with low participation by public program advisors (6 per cent) and professional consultants (11 per cent). The survey pointed out, however, that there is an important public role in preventing misuse of pesticides in the region, where about half of the producers were using prohibited chemicals.

In addition to the valuable assistance provided by the Rockefeller Foundation from 1943 to 1965, Mexico has also received financial and technical assistance for its agricultural sector from several international development agencies. Some of the projects financed by the World Bank include Agricultural Extension Project-PROCATI (1987-1993), Sustainable Production Systems and Biodiversity (started in 2012), Strengthening Social Resilience to Climate Change (ended in 2012) and Sustainable Rural Development Additional Financing (started in 2012).  According to the Inter-American Bank for Development (IDB), as many as 6,491,684 Mexican farmers have received agricultural support through its projects.

The Comprehensive Community Development Project in Quintana Roo is one of the recent IDB-financed projects in Mexico. Two projects financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are Community Forestry Project Development Project for Marginal Rural Communities in the Ixtlera Region, and Rural Development Project in the Mixteca Region and the Mazahua Zone. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has several ongoing country and regional projects covering Mexico, addressing various aspects of agricultural and rural development. The most recent (2013) development in the assistance has been the donation of more than 40 billion dollars by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Salim’s Foundation, and inauguration by the two billionaires of a new agricultural research center outside Mexico City.

Extension Providers

Major institutions providing extension/advisory services

Public Institutions

Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA - Secretariat de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación) 

The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) is an organizational arm of the Federal Executive Branch of the Government of Mexico. The mission statement of SAGARPA on its website is as follows: “To promote the comprehensive development of the agricultural, livestock and coastal sectors in the country, which allows the sustainable exploitation of its resources, for a sustainable and balanced growth of the economic regions, the generation of attractive sources of employment, fostering settlement and permanence of inhabitants in rural areas and the strengthening of productivity and competitiveness of agricultural products, to consolidate the effective positioning and penetration of Mexican products in new markets, addressing the requirements and demands of consumers”.

Although there is no explicit mention of agricultural extension services in the mission statement of SAGARPA, and the extension services are now considered as a private concern, yet this public federal institution is responsible for ascertaining satisfactory provision of the services to the farmers countrywide. SAGARPA works in collaboration with the state governments, other semi-autonomous and autonomous public institutions, and the private sector in the matters of outsourcing extension services, and the provision of technical assistance and subsidies to the farmers. SAGARPA is a policy level institution and as such makes policy decisions related to extension and advisory services.

National Institute for the Development of Rural Sector (INCA – Instituto Nacional Para el Desarrollo de Capacidades del Sector Rural A.C.) 

The National Institute for the Development of Rural Sector (INCA), created in 1973, is a semi-autonomous institution under SAGARPA that is responsible, among other functions, for overseeing agricultural extension and advisory services throughout the country. INCA’s present mission is as follows: “Develop capabilities of rural people, society, and public and private professionals and institutions by designing programs, processes of participation, coordination and promotion, non-formal education, training, evaluation, accreditation and certification, which contribute to the raising of human development and employment, improving income, meet the internal market supply demands, and reversing degradation of ecosystems in rural and coastal zones.”

The two strategic objectives of INCA are:

  1. Strengthening capacities for sustainable human development in rural sector through the articulation of inter-institutional efforts and resources at federal, state and municipal levels, by encouraging broad participation of rural society (SINACATRI – Sistema Nacional de Capacitación Asistencia Tecnica); and
  2. Operate and coordinate efforts to develop capabilities that enhance the competitiveness in the rural sector and environmental care, increasing labor productivity levels, family income and linkage with markets through implementation of organization sectoral strategies, training and technical assistance (SAGARPA).

In 2009, the total extension staff of INCA numbered 25 that included 16 male and six female senior managers and three subject-matter specialists.

Agricultural research institutes 

Mexico has quite a large network of agricultural research institutions, and the one which is considered as the most important among them is the National Institute for Forestry, Agricultural, and Animal Husbandry Research (INIFAP). There are eight regional research centers (CIRs) and five national disciplinary research centers (CENIDs) under INIFAP. In addition, the operation of 38 field experimental stations also falls under INIFAP responsibility. INIFAP and its affiliated institutes are under the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), but have received more autonomy lately.

Main contribution of the national agricultural research institutes to the agricultural extension is their main mandate, that is, the generation of improved agricultural technologies. Staff of the institutes may conduct field trials, or could occasionally attend technology transfer related meetings, but other than that, there is little evidence of any significant extension and advisory activities undertaken on regular basis by any research institute.

Collaboration between CIMMYT and Mexican institutions: The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has a collaboration agreement with the Association for Agricultural Research and Experimentation (PIEAES, or Patronato), located in Sonora State. Under this agreement, which was written 70 years ago, CIMMYT continues to conduct research on Patronato-owned 240 hectares of land, and Patronato is authorized to multiply the seed of high-yielding wheat varieties developed by CIMMYT, for the farmers of Sonoran State. It also includes training for PIEAES technicians and researchers. Researchers involved in this partnership contribute to, as well as benefit from, the MasAgro program that is jointly coordinated by CIMMYT and SAGARPA. This partnership program, which is also supported by the National Institute for Forestry, Agricultural, and Animal Husbandry Research (INIFAP), has benefited a large number of Sonoran farmers who have achieved record high yields of wheat on their farms.


Mexico has several institutions of higher learning that offer degree programs in various agricultural and rural social sciences. Although none of these institutions operates any agricultural extension program on regular basis yet they play an important role in preparing future agricultural professionals, including those who adopt agricultural extension and advisory as a career. Some universities with agricultural faculties offer short training courses as well. As examples, a few universities, which have academic programs in agriculture and related fields are:

  • Chapingo Autonomous University (Universidad Autónomo Chapingo) : a public university, established in 1854; located at Chapingo, Mexico State on a rural campus; offers degree programs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries; has the National Museum of Agriculture located on its campus.
  • Antonio Narro Agrarian Autonomous University (UAAAN - Universidad Autónomo Agraria Antonio Narro): a public university, established in 1923; located at Saltillo, Coahuila State; has another campus in Torreon, called Laguna Unit; offers academic programs in veterinary medicine, seed technology, plant breeding, agrarian sciences, production systems engineering, plant protection, and environment; university’s Laguna Unit offers academic programs that lead to careers as agronomist parasitologist, horticulture agronomist, irrigation agronomist, agro-ecology engineer, environmental processes engineer and veterinarian zootecnista.
  • University of Guadalajara (UDG - Universidad de Guadalajara): a public university, established in 1925; located at Guadalajara, Jalisco State; has seven separate campuses, all located in the Guadalajara Metropolitan, each offering a specialized field of study, including University Center of Biological and Agricultural Sciences (CUCBA), University Center of Economic and Managerial Sciences (CUCEA), and University Center of Social Sciences and Humanities (CUCSH); has additional nine campuses within Jalisco State; also operates a Virtual University System.
  • School of Agriculture at Monterrey Tech (ITESM – Instituto  Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey): a part of ITESM (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), one of the largest, private universities not only in Mexico but in the region; established in 1943; has 33 campuses in 35 cities of Mexico; enjoys collaborative academic programs with several US universities; degree programs offered by the School of Agriculture in agro-biotechnology engineering, agronomy engineering and food industry engineering.

Non-Public Institutions

Private sector

In spite of having millions of small-scale farmers, Mexico has been steadily moving towards commercial agriculture and agricultural industry. Many Mexican as well as foreign companies, especially from the United States, have made significant investments in Mexico’s agricultural sector. Reportedly, Americans are farming 50,000 acres of land in Mexico and employing 11,000 people. There is little information available on commercial companies’ extension and advisory activities. However, their commercial operations do have direct or indirect effect on Mexican farmers. A few examples of commercial agri-business companies operating in Mexico are:

  • Terra Nova Ventures: a US-based private equity firm focusing on investment primarily in the agricultural sector of Mexico.
  • International Greenhouse Produce, S.A. de C.V. (IGP): one of Mexico’s top greenhouse vegetable producers; located in Culiacan, Sinaloa; primary products include tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers, which are exported to USA and Canada during the winter season.
  • Agricultores de Maiz, S.A. de C.V (ADM): engaged in the business of buying, rehabilitating, leasing, and selling land for corn farming in Mexico.
  • Nueva Agronómica Nayarit, S.A. de C.V. (NASA): located in Nayarit State; engaged in greenhouse vegetable production.
  • Safety Chain Software, Inc.: although based in California yet very active in Mexico; provides software-as-a-service solutions to help suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers monitor and analyze testing information to ensure that consumable products like food and medicines reach the consumer untainted and safe.
  • Agroindustrias Unidas de Mexico, S.A. (AMSA): located in Chiapas; a coffee processor and exporter company; has partnership with Starbucks coffee company in the USA.
  • Grupo Maseca: headquartered in Monterrey: engaged in modernized corn flour production in Mexico; also largest corn flour producer in USA.
  • Pulsar International: has a number of high-tech agribusiness enterprises including Salvia, which has operations in 123 countries.
  • Pilgrim Pride: a US-based company; the second largest poultry producer in Mexico
  • Aires de Campo, S.A. de C.V.: the pioneer company in Mexico in commercializing organic foods.
  • Unifoods, S.A. de C.V.: the leading company in the organic packaged food market; core product is organic milk.
  • Agricola Valle Grande Ltda: the second largest company in organic packaged food market.

Non-governmental organizations

In Mexico, NGOs probably started in the 19th century to mostly perform church related activities. NGOs, however, mushroomed after the earthquake that hit the country in 1985. Mexico has both foreign and national NGOs whose number runs in thousands. In 1996, the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI – Centro Mexicano para la Filanthropy) compiled a comprehensive database on Mexican NGOs. They undertake a variety of activities including human rights, environment and social welfare; but quite a few are involved in rural development. In fact, the number of rural development projects operated by NGOs in Mexico has been increasing during the last decade. No specific information is available on the role of NGOs in the delivery of agricultural extension and advisory services, but probably those involved in projects related to agricultural and rural development, environment, and rural women empowerment do perform some type of extension activities.  Names of a few such NGOs are:

  • Fundacion Mexicana papa el Derarrollo Rurl, A.C.
  • Instituto Nacional papa la Modernizacion del Campo.
  • Red de Alternativas Agroecologicas.
  • Servicios de apoyo local al desarrollo de base en México.
  • Consejo Civil de Mexico para la Silvicultura Sostenible.
  • Barzon del Agro (Barzon Union).
  • Sistema Nacional de Capacitación Extension Rural (SINDER).
  • Asociación Civil Acuicola, Piscicola Agropecuaria, A.C.
  • Federación Estatal de Unidades Agricolas de la Mujer, A.C.
  • Asociación Estatal de Agricultores Integrales A.C. (AGRIN AC), located in Tepoztian.
  • Asociación Mexicana de Transformacion Rural y Urbana (AMEXTRA INC), located in Colonia San Angel.
  • Frontera Farmer Foundation.

Some of the foreign NGOs operating in Mexico are Habitat Internacional, World Neighbors, Vision Mundial and Greenpeace.

Farmers-based associations, cooperatives and societies

There are hundreds of farmers-based associations in Mexico. Most of them have been very active in lobbying for farmers’ interests in programs such as rural development planning, and in protesting against agreements and laws such as NAFTA and 2005 Monsanto Law that threaten farmers’ livelihoods. They have also been active in extension and advisory matters, but no information is available on extension services provided by any of the associations. Names of some of the farmers’ associations are:

  • National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA).
  • Broad Campesino Front.
  • National Union of Agricultural Workers (UNTA).
  • Independent Center of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC).
  • National Integrative Union of Organizations for Solidarity and Social Economy (UNIMOSS).
  • Asociación National de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC).

In 2011, there were about 15,000 cooperatives in Mexico, most of them of consumer or producer types. The estimated total membership of these cooperative was five million individuals. Ejido, the communally or collectively farmed plot pattern established a long time ago in Mexico may be considered as an unconventional type of cooperative, a system that still exists albeit modified through reforms. Most farming cooperatives buy farm inputs in bulk, sell the produce in bulk, and share expensive farm equipment among their members. Some cooperatives have processing plants as well. There is no evidence of farming cooperatives fully engaged in providing extension and advisory services on regular basis.

The two major cooperative-oriented Mexican companies are:

  • Group LALA : formed in 1950s; has hundreds of stables and over 200,000 heads of quality cattle; has eight plants in important cities; visits more than 200,000 clients on daily basis to collect about 8.8 million pounds of milk; produces a wide variety of milk products.
  • Alpura Group: one of the top dairy food producers with over 82,000 cows on about 160  farms, producing more than 4.4 million pounds of milk per day for two processing plants.

Names of some of the Mexican coffee farmers’ cooperatives are:

  • Pachamama Cooperative: a cooperative of cooperatives, located in Huatusco, Vera Cruz State; markets organic coffee; owned by small holder farmers located in five different countries including Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru.
  • Producers Union Maya Vinic Cooperative: founded in 1999; located in Chiapas; membership comprises 700 Arabica coffee farming families.
  • Mexico El Eden Cooperative: very small cooperative, located in Guerrero State; membership comprises 15 coffee farmers.
  • Yochin Tayel K’inal Coffee Cooperative: serves as alternative marketplace for small coffee farmers for indigenous people in Chiapas.
  • CESMACH Cooperative: located in southern highlands of Chiapas; markets coffee; 225 small-scale members, located in the buffer zone of El Triunfo.
  • Penon de los Banos Cooperative: a part of the ejido system; women-owned sustainable organic farm cooperative located near San Miguel de Allende.

List of Extension Providers

The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Mexico. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.


Training options for extension professionals

Pre-service education in agricultural disciplines and rural social sciences, including agricultural extension, may be pursued at any of the universities that have faculties of agriculture, forestry, animal science, fisheries, and veterinary medicine, some of which have been mentioned in a previous section. For in-service training, extension professionals may contact the following:

  • All the universities mentioned in a previous section.
  • School of Agriculture at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
  • National Institute for Forestry, Agricultural, and Animal Husbandry Research (INIFAP) or any of its affiliated institutes and experimental stations located across the country.
  • NGOs engaged in rural and agricultural development activities some of which have been mentioned in a previous section.
  • External donor-financed projects in rural and agricultural development that have capacity building and training components.
  • If funding is not an issue, extension professionals could benefit from so many short training courses offered by the US Department of Agriculture and the land-grant universities in the neighboring United States.


Info-mediaries and information and communication technology (ict) for agriculture and extension

In Mexico, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation is responsible for ICT matters. Mobile and broadband networks have grown rapidly in Mexico. According to the World Bank, in 2012, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in Mexico was 86.77. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 38.42. Reportedly, the telecommunication market in Mexico grew 11.1 per cent in 2010. An EU-LAC conference, “ICT & e-Infrastructure”, was recently (2013) held in Campeche, Mexico.  A local NGO named Modemmujer uses ICTs to train and sensitize people about the gender inequality issues.

Although the government, in all probability, has plans for enhancing the ICT use in several institutions of the government and the civil society yet, so far, the only major application of ICT in Mexico can be seen in the field of education resulting from a Partners in Learning Alliance Agreement signed between the Ministry of Education and the Microsoft. Thanks due to the agreement, Mexico’s K-12 students and teachers will have unprecedented access to cutting-edge technologies, affordable software and expert training.

There is no evidence of ICT being used in the agricultural sector in a significant way. Also, there is little information available on the use of ICTs by the private sector. The extension and advisory services in Mexico do not seem to have any specific incorporation of ICTs in their work beyond routine use of computer, Internet and cellular phones, that is, in addition to radio and television.


Resources and references

Amendola, R., E. Castillo, and P.A. Martinez (no date). Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles: Mexico. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Campion, P.M. 2002. Space and Organizations: The Ecology of Rural NGOs in San Luis, Mexico. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation; Louisiana State University, Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Cervantes, A. 2005. Cooperatives in Mexico. PowerPoint presentation made at the University of Wisconsin.

Christoplos, I. 2008. Agricultural Advisory Services and the Market; Natural Resource Perspectives. Overseas Development Institute, UK.

Limaylla, A.Q., J.A. Gamon, and W.W. Miller.1994. Impact of the Regional Centers on faculty and students at the Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, Spring 1994, Pp. 63-70.

McMahon, M.A. 2011. Latin America – Public Agricultural Advisory Services: A Quest for Relevance; a PowerPoint presentation.

Millard, E. (no date; probably 2005). Increasing Profitability for Farmers Supplying to the International Coffee Market by Improving Supply Chain Management Including Traceability. Washington, DC: Conservation International.

Quispe, A. (1997). Toward privatization of agricultural extension: A case study of the Veracruz self-management system of production, Mexico. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, Fall 1997, Pp. 47-54

Quispe, A. and L.J. Sanchez (no date; probably 2000). Linking with Agricultural and Social Government Programs for Scaling-up Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Rural Development Projects in Mexico. Estudios del Desarrollo Rural, Colegio del Postgraduados, Montecillo, Texcoco, Estado de Mexico

Stads, G.J., G.M. Lopez, J.A.E. Garcia, V.C. Reyes, and J.L.J. Barrera.2008. Agricultural Science & Technology Indicators: Mexico. ASTI Country Brief No. 41. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Stedman, J.M. 1930. Foreign Agricultural Extension Activities: Mexico, Bavaria, Finland, Switzerland. Extension Service Circular 134. Washington, DC: United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Cooperative Extension Work.

Tello-Leal, C.M. Sosa-Reyna, and D.A. Tello-Leal. 2012. The digital divide: ICT development indices in Mexico. Journal of Community Positive Practices, 4.2012, Pp. 797-810.

Themudo, N.  2000. Organizational Environment and NGO Structure in Mexico and Portugal: What Does the Literature Tell Us? Programa Interdisciplinario de Estudios del Tercer Sector, El Colegio Mexiquense.

Tuttle, S., J.R. Lindner, and K.E. Dooley (no date; probably 2003). Historical and current extension systems in Dr. Arroyo, Northeastern Mexico. Proceedings of the AIAEE 22nd Annual Conference, held at Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA; Pp. 658-668.

World Bank. 2006. Institutional Innovation in Agricultural Research and Extension Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean. Washington, DC: The World Bank. ‹

 Zertuche, M. 2005. Reforming Higher Agricultural Education Institutions: The Case of the School of Agriculture at Monterrey Tech (ITESM). FAO and UNESCO.


  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (November 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson

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