As I look back over the 35 years of development of the PCCMCA, its success and accomplishments have definitely been a real source of satisfaction to me and I believe to all participants. The mere fact that it is going stronger than ever after 35 years of operation is in itself a highly significant sign of its success. The PCCMCA not only sparked the modem developments of agricultural production in Central America and Panama, but it also ranks high as one of the successful operational models in the agricultural revolution of the Third World. Regional maize programs in the Andean Zone and Southeast Asia were soon patterned after it. Even more impressive, it provided a basic pattern for a whole series of interacting collaborative regional research programs widely promoted by the International Research Centers around the world. This is something of which the Central American agricultural and development workers can be proud. As a matter of fact, all participants can feel doubly proud because in the development of this highly successful approach they had no precedent to follow. They relied on enthusiasm, common sense and hard work. They were generous with their certificates of recognition for all those who helped, regardless of nationality or institutional affiliations both from within and outside the region.


It all got started when seven people met in Turrialba in 1954 (one representative from each of the six middle American countries and a representative of the “Oficina de Estudios Especiales”, OEE, in México) to talk about the possibilities of starting a Central American Cooperative Maize Improvement program.