Place: Chiapas, mexico, North America
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 934.496,80 | Period: From June 2002 To


The Strategic Project for Food Security (PESA-MEXICO), is an initiative of technical and methodological support, developed by the Representative in Mexico of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), supported and operated by the government of Mexico through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), state governments and nongovernmental organizations (Agencies for Rural Development) 
The project is based on participatory work with marginalized rural households to generate a differentiated strategy and a targeted intervention, considering human development as an element to reduce availability, access, use and stability of foods problems.
The aim is: "Increase the level of production and productivity of agricultural and fishing activities of family production units in rural localities with high and very high marginalization in order to contribute to their food security".


Secretariat of Agricultural Development, Government of Hidalgo - Mexico

Initiative partner

Related to PESA-Mexico the SEDAGROH has the responsability of the operation of PESA-Mexico in the state of Hidalgo. Particularly, it is responsible for the management aspects and monitoring of services and products of all the ADR that have been hired to work in specific regions of the state.


Initiative partner

Give technical monitoring to the projects, Technical training and support, promote Human development, participate in communitary meetings, encourage resource management on diverse intitutions, promote the exchange and purchase of local products.

Alternatives for Rural Development, C.S. - Mexico

Initiative partner

As a Rural Development Agency it is responsible of promoting the human development of farmer families living in San José del Rincón, Estado de México. Design, Management, implementationand monitoring of projects of groups and families of poor communities. Provide thechnical assisance and training in order to encourage income generation and food production. According to the community needs, it implements PESA's strategies such as finance, nutrition, water and soil, Community Promoters, corn production, protected agriculture, among others.

Rural Development Agency AMTEL CHIAPAS, S.C. - Mexico

Initiative partner

Contribute the technical and methodological support, designed by FAO to work with families and groups living in poor rural areas of the country, in order to: - Promote, identify, manage and monitor projects and processes that had been planed jointly with the community. -Improvement of home and water availability. - Promote food production and adequate feeding. - Increase income of the families for the sustanability of the actions undertaken. - Strenghten the capacities of the population, training community promoters to improve the rural organization.

Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico - Mexico

Initiative partner

SAGARPA is the responsible of policies design to create the enabling and favorable environment to increase the efficiency, productivity, profitability and competitiveness of the agriculture, livestock, fisheries and rural development.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - (Mexico Office) - Mexico

Initiative partner

FAO is the UN-Agency responsible of: help to county members to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; reduce rural poverty; enable inclusive and efficient agriculture and food systems and increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters. The activities comprise five main areas: Putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture, strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise, bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture, bringing knowledge to the field, supporting countries prevent and mitigate risks.

The STRATEGIC Project for Food Security in Mexico (PESA-Mexico) is a strategy focused on families living in rural marginalized areas in Mexico that contributes to increase production, access and utilization of food to achieve their food security. Its strength lies on the familIEs' high appropriation of the activities undertaken, which ADDS to the INTERRELATION BETWEEN civil society, governments and FAO.

As a differentiated strategy, the main innovation has been delivered at human and social development aspects. The PESA-Mexico has achieved to motivate families who have moved from a passive-welfarist situation to a proactive-productive one, these through promotion and education activities that are focused on:

WANT: By education processes and community participation families'  motivation is awaken. They want to leave their bad living conditions contributing by their own means to achieve this goal.
KNOW: Through the Rural Development Agencies (ADR) that educates and facilitates processes, easy technical knowledge is transfered to the beneficiaries so they can use their available resources in a better way, increase production or improve productivity.
CAN: Additional physical and financial resources are transfered to families by the articulation of diverse government instruments to implement projects that improve the management of  their productive systems.

PESA Mexico methodology The Strategic Project for Food Security methodology in Mexico.
PESA-Mexico Chiapas Gladiolus seed selection in a mexican community in Chiapas

At the begining of PESA in Mexico (2002), public policies to support poor rural areas were characterized by minimum population attention and no welfare generation.
A differentiated strategy for these areas was required. The FAO shared the experience of PESA starting in 2002 a pilot phase in 6 states, 13 municipalities and 48 communities.
The social, economic, geographic conditions of marginalized rural communities are characterized by high dependency, low productivity, natural resource degradation, dispersal, migration and feminization of the field.
The Base line (2008) of Food and Nutrition Security on PESA-Mexico show:
• Insufficient production to attend the market demand with a deficit in corn of 41%, vegetables 86%, poultry 63% and eggs 73%. 
• Food access is limited due to families low income. The 66% of the total expenditure is dedicated to food purchase.

• Most communities do not have water for production.

• Rural diet with huge deficiencies and serious excesses.   

Hystory of the PESA-Mexico Implementation, Coverage, Income and important facts evolution.
Program context Program context of PESA
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf PESA Mexico The Strategic Project for Food Security in Mexico (PESA-Mexico) is a strategy focused on families living in rural marginalized areas in Mexico that contributes to increase production, access and use of food to achieve their food security. Its strenght lies on the family's high appropriation of the activities undertaken, which adds to the articulation of different actors, civil society, governments and FAO. The results generated on the poor mexican rural areas demonstrates that it is a good practice of sustainable development.

The PESA-Mexico is a differentiated strategy, focalized and positioned in the country as a public policy instrument, with the following outcomes and impacts:
· It is developed in 24 of the 31 states of the country, 924 municipalities and 10,307 localities.
· 219,000 families participate with 238,000 projects, 81% of those are for food production and 18% for income improvement. The 90% of the projects are operating and producing and they impact more than 1 million people.
· PESA-Mexico developed the ADR model. Currently there are 361 ADR (multidisciplinary teams) applying the methodology and gathering 2,550 field technicians.
· Development of a participative FNS methodology with planning and project´s management tools; nutritional, financial and associative education strategies; as well as water-land management strategies. The method is transferred to the ADR through on-line training and accompaniment in the field.
· It has an information, follow up and evaluation system.

Geographical coverage of the PESA-Mexico Actually PESA is the most successful program for FAO Mexico.
PESA Chiapas Description of the Strategic Project for Food Security, characteristics and implementation of the methodology in Chiapas. (Video released by CODECOA)
PESA México PESA-Mexico is a support methodological strategy designed to work with families and groups of poor areas of the country, to improve their production systems and income; Chiapas’ localities have similar life conditions.
PESA at Jolnojojtic Chiapas, México PESA at Jolnojojtic Chiapas, México

The main beneficiaries are families and groups of producers, living in poverty conditions in PESA-Mexico regions, who have decided to transform their reality and improve their production and income systems, based on their own interests, needs and resources. The main problems identified are:

  1. demotivation and lack of orientation,
  2. malnutrition,
  3. high dependency on external resources and due to lack of food and the deterioration of their productive resources, water and soil.

This strategy contemplates attention to the following families' productive systems:

  • Plant and livestock backyard production. Value loss, abandonment, lack of infrastructure and water for production.
  • Basic grains and maiz fields. Low production, dependency on seasonal rains, post-harvest losses, scarcety of labor and degraded soils.
  • Income generating systems. Low prices, minimal links with final consumer, lack of value added, minimal supply of services for system development, lack of organization among producers.
Alcomunga, Ajalpan, Sierra Negra de Puebla School garden in Alcomunga, Ajalpan, Sierra Negra de Puebla, México.
El Potrero, Cardonal, Hidalgo Apple production in Potrero, Cardonal, Hidalgo
Jonajoltic, San Juan Chamula Chiapas, México Food production at Jonaljoltic, San Juan Chamula Chiapas México
Miahuatlán, Oaxaca México Developing local markets through Special Program for Food Security

The Stakeholders operating PESA-Mexico are:

1) Main Stakeholders. Families and groups of farmers that live in poor and ultra poor rural areas.
2) Rural Development Agencies (ADR). Implement the strategy on the field. Are integrated by technicians that facilitate, promote, identify, manage, implement and monitor plans and projects framed jointly with the main stakeholders.
3) State Operative Group (GOP). Integrated by SAGARPA, FAO and local government representatives to perform planning, monitoring and evaluation of PESA according to existing regulations to ensure the methodology compliance.
4) National Technical Unit (UTN-PESA FAO). Group of consultants that design and transfer the strategy and methodology to ADR and GOP.

Currently 219,000 families living at 10,307 communities of 924 municipalities are participating through the support of 361 ADR and 2,550 facilitators. Each of the 24 states where PESA-Mexico is implemented has its own GOP which is supported by the UTN team.

ADR’s model ADR’s model
PESA Mexico Institutional arrangement of PESA Mexico

During the last 10 years, the main obstacles have been:

1) Low social participation. The PESA-Mexico methodology applies participatory tools to break the apathy of families. 
2) Nonexistence of development agents. PESA-Mexico created the concept of ADR to ensure presence of agents working directly in the rural poor localities.
3) Low transparency mechanisms for subsidies. FAO and SAGARPA organized the operative groups at each state, designed an information system, implemented external monitoring and evaluation systems, and develop transparent mechanisms to select ADRs.
4) Excessive public transfers prevent local initiatives. One goal of PESA-Mexico is that families become the promoters of their own development through an integrated promotion strategy and investments to solve bottle necks such as lack of water and productive infrastructure.
5) Lack of results measurement. An online information system was created to know the results of each project contrasted to a baseline.

../file-system/small/docx ../file-system/small/docx ADR´s contract ADR´s contract
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf ADR´s manual ADR´s manual
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf COUSSA´s manual Manual COUSSA PESA
../file-system/small/docx ../file-system/small/docx PESA application PESA application for ADR
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf SAGARPA's Operative Rules Operative Rules - SAGARPA 2014.

The PESA-Mexico families live in mainly hillside areas, where the soil erosion rate is more than 15 t/ha/year (tolerance range is 2.2-11.2 t/ha/year)

Crop production have the following problems:
• Thin and eroded soils
• Temporary production (only in rainy season) and erratic rainfall periods.
• Lack of infrastructure for collection, storage and irrigation.

Therefore, a water and soil strategy has been included in PESA-Mexico, which has demonstrated its efficiency through the implementation of integrated projects for the micro-watershed management. The strategy is promoted by 361 ADR which receive technical assistance from 22 specialized agencies.

Currently, more than 90,000 families have firewood-saving stoves and another 50,000 families have infrastructure for harvesting water.

PESA-Mexico has delivered 1,150 local initiatives with practices and projects with 28 millions of cubic meters capacity and 1,916 hectares of soil conservation.

Water for food production in plots Water for food production in plots
Water for home food production Water for home food production

One of the principal goals of PESA-Mexico is to support the Mexican Federal Government to design better public polices for the poorest rural citizens. For instance:

  1. ADR model has been applied in other public programs like PRODEZA directed to arid and semiarid regions of the country.
  2. PESA-Mexico has been adapted to other intervention strategies of SAGARPA´s programs like urban agriculture and development of markets nets.
  3. The Food and Nutrition Security concept has been adopted by the Mexican Social Development Ministry in order to include a productive component in its Programs.
  4. PESA-Mexico is one of the main programs of the National Strategy Against Hunger (CNCH).
  5. Watershed and the territorial vision has been adopted in the CNCH through the empowerment of local governments as first responsibles of people's Food Security. 
  6. Empowerment to families and communities in now a commitment of the CNCH delivered by  community planning and not from an institutional supply.
Community Worker Community Worker PESA
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 1. Introduction to community development Introduction to community development
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 2. Becoming an agent of change. Becoming an agent of change.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 3.Promoting the community development Promoting the community development.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 4.Community food security. Community food security.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 5. What we can do to improve. What we can do to improve.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Manual 6. Building community development Building community development

The primary mechanism for disseminating results of PESA-Mexico has been the interpersonal communication (from farmer to farmer, community to community government institutions, Universities, Scientifics, research institutions and social organizations). Moreover, SAGARPA and FAO have promoted other dissemination initiatives such as:

  • Press releases and press conferences.
  • Dissemination of successful experiences in various media (press, radio and internet).
  • Participation in conferences, forums, national and international seminars where topics of Rural Development and FNS are treated.
  • Electronic media: website, social networks (Facebook and Twitter and Youtube channel).
  • Publication of magazines, posters and brochures.
  • Videos developed by  the Presidency of the Republic, FAO, state governments, television, ADR, among others.
  •  Field visits and exchanges between states participating in PESA and foreign (JICA, Government of Chile, among others)
"PESA-Mexico" - Main project of FAO-Mexico Interview to Dra. Nuria Urquía, FAO-Mexico Representative FAO, who talks about the Strategic Project for Food Security in México. (Video realized by the Federal Government in Mexico)
Finance Education promoted by PESA-Mexico Finance Education testimonies impacting food production in poor and ultra poor communities in Puebla, Mexico.
Interview SAGARPA Puebla Interview to Ing. Alberto Jiménez Merino, Representative of SAGARPA in the state of Puebla, about the Food and Nutrition Security Expo in the rural community of Zoquiapan, Puebla.
PESA-Mexico Project in Indigenous Communities Interview to the Legal Representative of the Rural Development Agency (ADR) "Pro Zona Mazahua, A.C" which works with Indigenous Communities in PESA-Mexico.
PESA-Mexico supports rural communities in Hidalgo. Interview to families participating in PESA-Mexico from El Potrero, Hidalgo. The Federal Government in Mexico (SAGARPA) realized this media to disseminate PESA-Mexico.
PESA-Mexico: A Successful Experience Interview to the UTN PESA-FAO State Director in Oaxaca and to the families farmers from Oaxaca, participating in PESA-Mexico. (Video of SAGARPA)
School garden, Hidalgo Interview to school garden promoters in Hidalgo, Mexico
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Magazine CIMMYT Conservation Agriculture The magazine Enlace in this issue is dedicated to family farming and the work of PESA in Mexico.
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Magazine PESA Mexico Magazine PESA Mexico
../file-system/small/pptx ../file-system/small/pptx PESA´s introduction PESA´s introduction