MIOA and its origin
The Market Information Organization of the Americas is a network of cooperation, comprised of government institutions or those institutions so delegated by the government, whose principal functions and aims are the collection, process, analysis and dissemination of information relative to markets and agricultural commodities.
The idea of creating such a network was conceived and supported by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This idea was born based on one of the primary goals of the AMS, which is to facilitate the efficient marketing of agricultural products, in both domestic and international markets. A primary goal in this effort is the creation of market transparency; i.e., all participants in the market have access to the same reliable, unbiased market information.
Such transparency allows buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities and products to make informed marketing decisions and identify market opportunities.
AMS has worked for years to gain access to information from the key international markets for its customers. In many instances, this involved technical assistance in countries with emerging markets. Although these efforts have been largely successful, AMS staffing and funding limits as well as other Agency needs have prevented more widely based assistance programs. The Agency gained access to international market information largely through bilateral discussions, negotiations and agreements. Given the number of key trading partners, most notably from the Americas, AMS has sought ways to multiply its efforts, improve its efficiency in gaining access, and to focus on developing some consistency in terminology and methodology among the cooperating countries.
The most logical means to gaining access to information on markets in a number of countries was to establish an informal organization of market information specialists from various nations, much like the U.S.-based National Market News Association. Such an organization would create an excellent avenue to not only access additional international market information, but also to create a forum for standardizing methodology, terminology, and technology used by various market information programs. Given that AMS had existing relationships with a number of countries in North, Central and South America, it was decided that the initial effort to establish such an organization would best be focused on the countries of the Americas.
Due to the above, AMS conceived of and hosted the formative meeting of the Market Information Organization of the Americas in Oakland, California on August 19 – 23, 1999 during the 42nd National Market News Association Annual Workshop. Thirteen countries came together for this meeting and strongly supported the concept of forming an organization to facilitate the timely exchange of market information between the countries of the Americas. These countries were: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, United States and Venezuela. The group created an initial plan of action and set up several working groups or committees. The countries agreed to meet within one year to formalize the creation of the Organization. The Associate Deputy Administrator in AMS-USDA, Eric Forman acted as the Chairperson until the organization met again at the inaugural meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 11-13, 2000.
Eighteen countries of the Americas attended the inaugural meeting in Brazil, with most of the delegates sponsored by the AMS-USDA with financial support from the Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA. The countries represented in the meeting were: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. During the inaugural meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, MIOA delegates approved the Rules of Procedure formally establishing the Organization. As called for in the newly established Rules of Procedure, an Executive Committee was elected to serve for a period of two years.
Chair: Terry Long (United States)
Vice chair: Claudio Farias (Chile)
Members at large: Amilcar Landaverde (El Salvador), Sandra Cuellar (Colombia), Amilcar Gramacho (Brazil)
Additionally, a number of key working groups were established to begin the actual work of the Organization. A leader was designated for each work group, and countries volunteered to assist in the work for particular groups. The goal of each group was to work on specific areas in the interim between the Rio de Janeiro meeting and the next meeting. The working groups established at the Rio de Janeiro meeting were: Technical Assistance and Training; MIOA Website Development; Resource Binder of Participants; Legal Structure for MIOA; Standardization of Terminology; and Future Funding Options.
Chile offered to host the next meeting in Santiago, and the proposal was accepted by the Organization. However, due to unforeseen events, the meeting in Chile was cancelled.
The inaugural meeting of the MIOA was extremely productive in that the Rules of Procedure were agreed to, officers were elected, working groups were established, and a site for the next meeting was selected. Most important, perhaps was the creation of the working groups to move the Organization forward. The benefit from the association of market information specialists from the countries of the Americas was immediately evident through the identification of counterparts in countries throughout the Hemisphere and through the rapidly emerging exchange of market information, ideas and experiences.