The Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (ICOA) is a technical entity created in July 2008 by the Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas via the IICA Executive Committee, with the aim of contributing to the development of organic agriculture in countries in the Americas and facilitating the trade of organic products.
The ICOA comprises the Competent Authorities for Control of Organic Agriculture in the countries, which are the entities responsible for regulating and controlling organic activity and guaranteeing the organic status of products. Their responsibilities include registering and auditing producers, processors, traders, input suppliers, inspectors and organic certification agencies; as well as keeping statistical records for the activity, and proposing modifications to organic production standards. The Competent Authorities for the Development of Organic Production also form part of the ICOA and focus on the development and promotion of the organic sector in the member countries.
The Commission is the first official regional entity to conduct work on this topic. As established by the Inter-American Board of Agriculture, IICA’s highest-level governing body, the institute shall serve as the Executive Secretariat of the ICOA.
The ICOA currently consists of 19 member countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United State, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela. Spain and Portugal participate in the Commission as permanent Observer Members. The countries that comprise the Board of Directors of the ICOA are Ecuador (president), Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Rep. and IICA.