The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, or CATIE, was founded when Henry Wallace, U.S. secretary of agriculture, proposed an institution dedicated to supporting American countries conducting tropical agricultural research. What started as part of the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Sciences became CATIE in 1973. Currently, 10 member countries, including the United States, support the institution and partnerships among CATIE and domestic universities.
Purdue Agriculture and Purdue Extension have a long-standing research and education partnership with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica.
This partnership has allowed many Purdue Agriculture and Purdue Extension researchers, students and professionals to participate in international research and education projects. These projects not only benefit the people of Costa Rica, but also the people of Indiana and the United States.
Tamara Benjamin, a Purdue research scientist, lives in Costa Rica and is the liaison between Purdue and CATIE. Her work helps make these opportunities possible.
Current projects include:
- U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Food for Peace: Farmer-to-Farmer. This program connects Purdue Extension educators with farmers in Costa Rica to help make sustainable improvements in production, processing, and marketing.
- Study Abroad and Student Exchange. Purdue Agriculture students can take courses at CATIE and CATIE students can take courses at Purdue. Purdue Agriculture students also have the opportunity to study abroad and complete service learning projects with indigenous tribes in Costa Rica.
- The Clean Stock Program. Purdue entomologists have partnered with CATIE to reduce pesticide use while also reducing the risk of Costa Rican plant pests entering the United States on imported ornamental plants.