Agriculture & Natural Resources Projects

ISTI’s activities in agriculture emphasizes agricultural policy analysis, agribusiness development, agroforestry, and food-aid policy.  In the area of natural resources and environmental protection, ISTI has built a strong reputation in water resource planning, including irrigation, flood control, water-quality control, and river-basin planning.

Analytical Services II IQC, USAID (2005 – 2009): As a subcontractor to Associates in Rural Development (ARD), ISTI conducts assessments of USAID-sponsored Democracy and Governance (DG) projects. In 2005, ISTI conducted an assessment of the USAID/Sri Lanka activities to promote democratic change through programs that directly support the peace process, increase the responsiveness of key government institutions, and empower vulnerable groups to assert their rights. ISTI reviewed the USAID/Sri Lanka Mission’s current program and initial assessments and evaluated the capacity of provincial government. ISTI recommended a package of training and technical assistance that enhanced capacity, strengthened and promoted decentralization as allowed by the constitution, increased coordination between central, provincial and local government structures for tsunami related aid, and strengthened the capacity of political parties at the provincial and local government level. ISTI also reviewed the results framework for the Democracy, Governance and Peace Support SO and designed the SO level Performance Monitoring Plan (PMP) through consultations with USAID/Sri Lanka and other implementing partners.

Visa Compliance and HICD/Training Support Services, USAID (2005 – 2007): ISTI provided support through a GSA MOBIS task order to USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade, Office of Education (EGAT/ED) technical and administrative support for Homeland Security compliance, human and institutional capacity development (HICD), and training and education activities funded by USAID.  Such support included four major activities: facilitating USAID compliance with external Department of Homeland Security and Department of State requirements for the processing of exchange visitor data and issuance of visas for US travel; providing assistance to USAID Bureaus and Missions in the design, planning, administering, tracking, implementation and evaluation of training, HICD and education activities; monitoring centrally managed HICD; and conducting HICD sector assessments and performance assessments.

The Global Evaluation and Monitoring (GEM) IQC (1999 – 2006): This IQC enables USAID Missions, Bureaus and Centers to: monitor and evaluate a broad range of USAID activities with human capacity development (HCD) components, such as basic and higher education, training, workforce development, information technologies, and partnerships; incorporate results into program monitoring and strategic planning; present results for R4 use; and adapt and disseminate results, success stories, and lessons learned.  Tasks will be implemented in collaboration with Aguirre International.

Food Management and Research Support Project, Bangladesh (1997 – 2001): As sub-contractor to International Food Policy Research Institute, ISTI implements the Human Resource Development component of this project, the goal of which is to strengthen the analytical capacity of government officials and other actors in the food policy arena.  In particular, to expose a wide variety of people to food policy and food security issues; to enable individuals to better identify and formulate policy problems; to train government officials and other research personnel in food policy analysis; to increase the level of basic training for GOB personnel; to provide training for private sector personnel involved in the Bangladesh food sector; and to provide the tools to prepare terms of reference for analysis to be undertaken by third party researchers and to evaluate reports. The training plan includes on-the job training; in-country operational training of regional staff and desk officers in central government in food operations; in-country food policy analysis training; U.S.-based training programs; study tours in the U.S. and Asia; and dissemination seminars.

Consulting Services for Technical and Advisory Analysis for Strategic Planning, Performance Measurement and Evaluation IQC, Worldwide (1996 – 1999): This IQC offered short-term technical and advisory services to USAID and cooperating host-country agencies in project and program evaluation, reengineering, strategic planning, performance measurement and related areas. Major task orders under this IQC include:

  • Performance Measurement Analysis (1996-1999): The objectives of this effort were: (a) to strengthen USAID’s ability to assess its performance by building a performance-based database; (b) to support critical analyses necessary to empirically assess Agency-wide progress; (c) to draft specialized performance reports; (d) to help USAID respond to internal demands to manage-for-results and to external performance-driven inquiries from Congress and other entities;  (e) to develop the capacity to take a leadership role to advance the science and practice of performance measurement Agency-wide; (f) and to provide direct feedback from operating units on Agency-wide impediments to performance measurement to validate data analysis, interpretation and report writing.
  • Performance Monitoring in Europe and Newly Independent States (ENI) (1997-1999): ISTI provided technical assistance to ENI/W offices and field posts in developing strategic plans, refining or developing results frameworks, performance monitoring plans, and customer service plans. Advisory services were also provided in the design of data collection systems and analysis methodologies. A total of eighteen delivery were completed.
  • Training for Societies in Transition (TRANSIT) Project (1999-2000): ISTI provides expert advice to the ENI-Bureau, USAID Missions and technical offices regarding all facets of partnership development and operations.  The main activities are: support services related to training and partnership administration for the ENI Bureau and its field units and assistance in the design, planning, administering, tracking, and implementation of training, partnership activities and social sector reform activities; monitoring centrally- funded training and partnership activities; and conducting training impact evaluations.

Communications Logistics Support for the Equity and Growth through Economic Research (EAGER) Project, Africa (1996 – 1999): This $50 million project focused on improving economic and social science research in sub- Saharan Africa, in particular, to increase the use of economic and social research and analysis by decision-makers in public and private sector institutions.  The research effort was implemented through two cooperative agreements: Public Strategies for Promoting Growth and Equity led by the Harvard Institute for International Development; and Trade Regimes and Growth led by Associates for International Resources and Development.  In collaboration with BHM International, ISTI assisted the cooperative agreement researchers in the implementation of a dissemination strategy and monitoring plan. 

Famine Early Warning Systems, Phase III (FEWS III), sub-Saharan Africa, (1994 – 1999):  The project provided timely and accurate information to improve the food security of vulnerable population groups which face specific famine threats in sub-Saharan Africa.  Early warning detection and reporting was conducted by means of remote surveillance of agro-climatic and socioeconomic conditions.  This effort was complemented by diagnostic work and the increasing ability of host countries to collect and analyze data in support of famine early warning surveillance.  ISTI provided two long-term advisors: a senior agronomist and deputy project director; and an information dissemination specialist.

Knowledge and Effective Policies for Environmental Management (KEPEM), Madagascar, (1994 – 1997):   KEPEM was a performance-based policy and institutional reform project to encourage sustainable natural resources management through a policy and institutional framework of incentives and revenue generation and use.  ISTI provided a resident forest-management advisor and short-term natural resources management specialists.

Agricultural Policy Analysis Project, Phases II and III, Worldwide (1993 – 1998): ISTI was responsible for  dissemination and communication activities of this worldwide project, as well as high-level policy research, training, and technical assistance to USAID Missions.  Studies and assessments included an agricultural pricing and incentives study in Yemen; an evaluation of the Agricultural Policy and Planning project in Zaire; a food security and agricultural diversification study in Guatemala; a rice and cotton policy study in Niger and an eight-month analysis of the impact of structural adjustment in Morocco.  In Honduras, ISTI personnel carried out two studies:  an analysis of the economic and nutritional impact of price controls on agricultural products; and a study to improve microcomputer applications to agricultural policy analysis.  ISTI also provided technical advisory services in  Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

Agricultural and Food Systems IQC, Worldwide (1993 – 1998): ISTI in association with Winrock International, Associates in Rural Development, Inc., and John Mellor Associates, provided short-term technical assistance to USAID Missions in all areas of agricultural development and environmental management.

Natural Resources and Environmental Policy (NAREPP), Sri Lanka (1991 – 1996): The purpose of this project was to improve public and private institutional performance in formulating and implementing effective, environmentally sound development programs that would enhance the contribution of natural resources to sustainable growth.  As a lead subcontractor to International Resources Group, ISTI provided a wide range of long- and short-term  technical assistance in such categories as impact assessment, economic analysis and planning, management strategies development, research planning, technical and management skills building, and information communication and networking.

Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) Program, (1992 – 1995):  The MERC program fostered joint scientific research between Arab countries and Israel.  Areas of current research cooperation include agricultural pest control, agricultural technology, marine technology, epidemiology and vector-borne diseases, animal health research, and environmental technology.  ISTI, as subcontractor to Winrock International, provided the Senior Agricultural Research Specialist who was responsible for the agriculture component of the program.

Irrigation Support Services for Asia and the Near East (ISPAN) (1987 – 1995): ISTI was a lead subcontractor of the ISPAN consortium supporting USAID irrigation portfolios throughout Asia and the Near East.  ISTI provided long- term assistance in the management of international information services and short-term assistance in project design, evaluation, and institutional development in a number of assisted countries.  In Bangladesh, ISTI contributed to a flood response study to develop policy guidelines and planning criteria to be used in regional research under the Flood Action Plan.  ISTI also provided the resident team leader for the Geographic Information System study in Dhaka, Bangladesh under the Eastern Waters Initiatives program.

IQC for Food Aid Programming and Management, Worldwide (1991 – 1994): ISTI, in collaboration with its subcontractors, International Resources Group, The Futures Group, and Support Services International, Inc.  provided short-term technical advisory services in all aspects of food aid.  For instance, ISTI produced the 1993, 1994 and 1995 President’s World Food Day Report presented to Congress; produced a major policy paper on food security issues; provided technical assistance to rewrite major USAID food aid manuals to reflect the many recent changes in food aid regulations and legislation; worked closely with the Bureau for Food and Voluntary Assistance to improve its food aid database and information systems; and designed food security strategies for many USAID-assisted countries.  ISTI was also a subcontractor to DATEX, Inc. under an identical companion IQC.

Program of Reform in the Agricultural Marketing Sector, Phase I (PRAMS I), Cameroon (1992 – 1994):  PRAMS I was an agricultural marketing policy project focusing on Arabica coffee.  ISTI and its subcontractor, High Value Horticulture, plc., provided three resident advisors and short-term specialists in coffee marketing, cooperative law, financial information systems and institutional development. PRAMS I was part of a broader USAID program to assist the government of Cameroon in its efforts to increase the efficiency of the agricultural marketing sector through policy dialogue supporting higher production incentives, more efficient crop selection to increase quality and exports, increased reliance on market signals and greater competition among marketing agents.

Agricultural Non-Traditional Export Promotion: Post-Harvest Handling, Uganda (1992 – 1994):  The objective of the project was to increase the volume, value and diversity of non-traditional exports from Uganda to market niches in Europe and the Middle East.  ISTI provided a resident specialist in post-harvest handling and institutional development to support the program of the Export Policy Analysis Development Unit (EPADU).  The advisor worked to strengthen the outreach and service capability of EPADU while working directly with private entrepreneurs and with an exporters’ association. ISTI and its subcontractor also provided wide-ranging crop and market-specific technical assistance.

Policy Analysis and Implementation, Agricultural Sector Component, Honduras (1991 – 1994):  This project was USAID/Tegucigalpa’s principal vehicle for helping the Government of Honduras analyze macroeconomic and sectoral policy alternatives and building local capacity to implement, monitor, and evaluate policy reforms leading to sustainable economic growth.  ISTI helped strengthen the Honduran capability to carry out agricultural policy and implementation analyses, to disseminate results of policy analyses, and to develop an improved agricultural statistics base.

Technical Advisory Support Services (TASS), Worldwide (1985 – 1994):  For nearly a decade, ISTI was the sole contractor providing sustained technical assistance to USAID’s Center for University Cooperation and Development  and its predecessor, the Office of Research and University Relations.  ISTI provided broad-based support for the Center’s University Development Linkages Project, including state-of-the-art computer-based systems for communicating with over 500 universities and colleges, the processing and approval of grants for cooperative agreements with partner institutions overseas, and organizing workshops for 216 representatives from 136 colleges, universities and associations of higher education.  During the last seven years of the project ISTI also worked on a continuing basis with 50 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop 152 projects in nutrition, health, agriculture, rural development and natural resources.

Central Region Development Commission, Ghana (1990 – 1993):  ISTI carried out the design and assisted in the implementation of this community-based tourism development project funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project created a new forest and wildlife reserve in Ghana’s Central Region.  At the same time, the surrounding villages provided a new anti-poaching squad to protect the park’s elephants.  The project also supported the restoration of three 500-year old coastal forts and castles, and developed beach resources as part of an integrated tourism development package.  ISTI provided UNDP with the project identification and project design teams, recruited the resident chief of party, and provided short-term expertise in park management, woodland elephant behavior, and tourism development planning.  ISTI personnel also aided in the arrangements for an USAID-funded debt for nature swap in support of the park development.

Upper Senegal River Masterplan (1989 – 1990):  As subcontractor to Dames & Moore International, ISTI provided experts in forestry, agronomy, range management, and wildlife management to prepare a masterplan for the Upper Senegal River Basin Commission serving Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania.

Energy Planning Technical Assistance, Morocco (1985 – 1990):  ISTI’s resident and short-term energy advisors and subcontractor experts provided computer hardware, designed special software packages, and trained Moroccan energy analysts to carry out more effective analyses for national energy investment planning, energy pricing, and policy development.

Groundwater Monitoring, Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania (1985 – 1990):  ISTI provided a long-term hydrologist and short-term assistance to the Groundwater Monitoring Unit of the Office de la mise en valeur du Fleuve Senegal (OMVS) to create and institutionalize national groundwater monitoring units. 

National Agricultural Research Coordination, Egypt (1986 – 1989):  ISTI helped the National Agricultural Research Center set up systems to manage the Center’s $300 million USAID support project.  ISTI’s services focused on implementing microcomputer-based management information systems, providing training needs assessments, and coordination services for the Center with several contractors and donors.

Food Needs Assessment, Africa (1986 – 1988):  ISTI developed a software package to improve assessment and forecasting of international commodity levels and carried out training of USAID staff and host-country analysts in the use of the standard data collection model in over 20 African countries.    

National Energy Assessment and Planning Assistance, Sudan (1981 – 1988):  ISTI advisors assisted Sudan in preparing assessments of current and future energy requirements and resources.  After completion, ISTI maintained an energy advisor in Sudan for five years to coordinate planning and implementation activities.

Community Forestry Project (1985 – 1987):  ISTI provided long-term technical forestry assistance to three Senegalese agencies for a pilot program of agroforestry and soil conservation in Senegal’s Groundnut Basin to increase tree production and forest products, and conserve and improve the soil.