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Agricultura, sociedad y desarrollo

versión impresa ISSN 1870-5472

agric. soc. desarro vol.16 no.2 Texcoco abr./jun. 2019  Epub 25-Feb-2020 


Restrictions for results orientation of rural development programs in Mexico

A. Guadalupe Díaz Espinosa1 

Norman Aguilar Gallegos1 

Vinicio Horacio Santoyo Cortés1  * 

Manrrubio Muñoz-Rodríguez1 

J. Reyes Altamirano Cárdenas1 

1Centro de Investigaciones Económicas, Sociales y Tecnológicas de la Agroindustria y la Agricultura Mundial (CIESTAAM), Universidad Autónoma Chapingo (UACh). (,,,,


The objective of this study was to specify the influence of sectorial planning and evaluation on the design and budgeting of programs linked to rural development and their impact on their improvement. For this, the Integral Program for Rural Development (Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural, PIDR) by SAGARPA was analyzed, and its relation with normative instruments; in addition, interviews were performed with key actors involved in the processes of design and budgeting of programs directed at the rural sector. It was found that the six-year-term sectorial planning is formally an exercise ordered with accurate diagnoses, with explicit objectives and goals. However, it is not considered in the design and budget allocation of each program; rather, these result from the annual negotiation of the federal government with political groups from the House of Representatives, the Mexican Council on Rural Sustainable Development, the Association of Rural Development Ministers, and unionized producers’ organizations, among others. It is concluded that the instruments of planning, monitoring and control do not guarantee the design and budgeting of results oriented rural development programs.

Key words: evaluation; management for results; public policies based on evidences; budgeting; agricultural extension services


El objetivo de esta investigación fue precisar la influencia de la planeación sectorial y de la evaluación sobre el diseño y presupuestación de los programas vinculados al desarrollo rural y su impacto en la mejora de los mismos. Para ello se analizó el Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural (PIDR) de la SAGARPA y su relación con los instrumentos normativos; además, se realizaron entrevistas a actores clave involucrados en los procesos de diseño y presupuestación de los programas dirigidos al sector rural. Se encontró que formalmente la planeación sectorial sexenal es un ejercicio ordenado con diagnósticos precisos, con objetivos y metas explícitas. No obstante, no se considera en el diseño y la asignación presupuestal de cada programa; estos más bien resultan de la negociación anual del gobierno federal con los grupos políticos de la Cámara de Diputados, el Consejo Mexicano de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable, la Asociación de Secretarios de Desarrollo Rural y las organizaciones gremiales de productores, entre otros. Se concluye que los instrumentos de planeación, seguimiento y control no garantizan el diseño y presupuestación de programas de desarrollo rural orientados a resultados.

Palabras clave: evaluación; gestión para resultados; políticas públicas basadas en evidencias; presupuestación; servicios de extensión agrícola


In several countries, particularly those that belong to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there is a growing worry of the political and academic sector to design instruments that contribute to public spending being more efficient, effective and transparent, with the aim of consolidating the social, economic and environmental development, with an emphasis on the rural sphere (Torres and Delgadillo, 2009); one of these instruments, implemented by the Mexican government, is Results Based Budgeting (RBB) (Pérez-Jácome, 2010).

According to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (2013), RBB is a set of activities and tools that allow supporting budgetary decisions with information that systematically incorporates considerations about results from the exercise of public resources and which motivates public institutions to achieve them, with the objective of improving the quality of the spending, as well as the improvement of public goods and services, and promoting transparency and accountability.

Focusing on the efficiency of the government’s spending destined to agriculture (SFA), a study carried out by Valdés (2008), cited by the World Bank (2009), revealed that Mexico stands out in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as the country with greatest relationship between public spending in agriculture as a percentage of the sectorial GDP, and the growth rate of the agricultural GDP, which reflects very low correlation between public spending and the sector’s performance.

According to the World Bank (2009), the scarce correspondence between public spending destined to the agricultural sector and its growth could be explained by the following particularities:

  • The current structure of the spending in agriculture and rural development (ARD) in Mexico is, to a great extent, the result of decisions adopted in the past, with the purpose of financing specific sectors and agricultural regions, crops and other aspects of agrarian activity.

  • The Special Concurrent Program (Programa Especial Concurrente, PEC) has not functioned as a mechanism of coordination of the ARD programs, as was expected, in part because of the lack of clarity in institutional arrangements, lack of concurrence, and dispersion of resources and efforts (Herrera-Tapia et al., 2009). Although in real terms, the budget channeled to the PEC grew 78 % between 2003 and 2011, which is a reflection of its importance (Santoyo-Cortés et al., 2017).

  • The productive programs on public goods (such as infrastructure, research and development, and other similar ones) do not have enough financing. In addition, the sources of public financing are scarce, leaving this task to private institutions, with the result of scarce access for agricultural and rural producers to this type of services (Torres and Delgadillo, 2009).

  • The allotment of the spending for agriculture by states is correlated to the size of the agricultural sector of each of them; when the allotment is normalized by the size of the sector, it is not related to the growth of the agricultural sector of the states.

The situation described before takes place despite there being in Mexico a law for planning and a policy of Results Based Budgeting to align planning, programming, budgeting, control, exercise, monitoring and evaluation of public spending (DOF, 1983; SHCP, 2013).

The six-year-term National Development Plan (NDP) that is directed strategically toward the government’s actions (Shack, 2008) takes place in due time and manner, but it is not necessarily taken into account to elaborate the budget despite it having to preserve the medium-term fiscal solvency of the public sector, to promote an efficient delivery of public goods and services, and to allot public resources according to government priorities (Shick, 2002). Additionally, to improve the articulation of the process of planning and budgeting, the evaluation should allow continuing and controlling the fulfillment of strategic objectives.

Based on these arguments, the objective set out is to specify the influence of sectorial planning and evaluation on the design and budgeting of programs linked to rural development and their impact on their improvement. In this sense, the hypothesis is that the process of results based budgeting in Mexico does not manage to align the design, the budgeting and the evaluation of the performance of programs oriented at rural development. To respond to this hypothesis, the process of design, budgeting and evaluation of programs linked to rural development is analyzed, considering as example the Integral Program for Rural Development (Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural, PIDR) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Production, Rural Development, Fishing and Diet (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación, SAGARPA), specifying its reach and limits for the improvement of the effectiveness of public spending.


The study was carried out in three phases, which correspond to the processes of planning, budgeting and evaluation of the programs focused on rural development. The information was obtained mainly through documental review and interviews with key informants in 2015 and 2016, which are the basis of the results that are broken down with the same structured logic of this section. For reasons of information confidentiality, no opinions expressed during the interviews are specified and, therefore, the reaches of the results are exclusive of the programs analyzed, although it could be expected that some similar programs would have processes with the same problems that are described in the results section. The methodological approximation in each of these three phases is described next.

Sectorial planning

The process of sectorial planning of SAGARPA was analyzed through a documental review, in which the characteristics of the three sectorial programs covered in the period of 2001 to 2018 were identified, and the number of ministers in each of them was included. In addition, a semi-structured interview was carried out with three actors involved in the planning process. The design of the interview consisted in open questions that allowed the description of the process and the identification of the participating actors.

Design and approval of budgetary programs

The budgeting process is described considering as example the Integral Program for Rural Development (PIDR) 2014. For this purpose, the following was carried out:

  • To elaborate the diagram of the process to establish a budgetary program in the Federal Public Administration (Administración Pública Federal, APF), and specifically the PIDR 2014, the normativity applicable was reviewed and interviews were performed with key actors involved in the process (Table 1). The interview consisted in open questions about the procedure for budget allotment to the program, dates and participating actors.

  • Through a documental review, an analysis of the tree of problems and the Results Indicator Matrix (RIM) of the PIDR 2014 was made, because these considered key instruments for a results oriented budget to work. The results from the analysis were validated in a workshop with experts in the Logical Framework Methodology.

Table 1 Key actors interviewed by agency. 

Número de actores Dependencia Experiencia promedio
4 Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA) 15 años
1 Asociación Mexicana de Secretarios de Desarrollo Agropecuario (AMSDA) 10 años
1 Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable y la Soberanía Alimentaria (CEDRSSA) 5 años

Source: authors’ elaboration

Evaluation process

In this stage, the difficulty in evaluating programs that change name and objectives was made evident; for this purpose, a time line was designed where the evolution of the Programs oriented at Rural Development is shown (Programs for Productive Promotion, Support to Investment, and Technical Assistance), and it focuses on the changes of objectives and indicators of the programs of rural extension through the review of the SAGARPA operation rules and their RIM during the period 2001-2016.

Lastly, the evaluations of the programs linked to rural development contained in the system of “evaluation of social programs” of the National Council for Evaluation of the Social Development Policy (Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social, CONEVAL) and external agencies in the period 2006-2016, are analyzed.


Sectorial planning

Within the framework of the Federal Public Administration (Administración Pública Federal, APF), the Political Constitution of the Mexican United States in Article 26a, and the Planning Law it is established that: “there must be a national development plan (NDP) to which all programs of the APF must be mandatorily subjected” (DOF, 1983); thus, every six years, the executive power publishes its NDP. These plans in the last three six-year-periods have agreed in themes such as economic growth and stability; improvement of the livelihoods, educational quality, and democratic strengthening, making particular emphasis on themes such as compliance to the rule of law, security and peace (DOF, 2001a; DOF, 2007a).

According to the Planning Law, the sectorial programs derived from the NDP must fulfill the same orienting function in the agencies responsible for each of them. The analysis carried out of the three last Sectorial Programs of SAGARPA showed that, in general terms, they are good planning exercises. The diagnoses are complete and accurate, and they address the importance of the sector in the global and national context, and the challenges it faces. The objectives and strategies are accurate and coherent and they are aligned for the fulfillment of the goals established in the corresponding NDP. In general terms the action lines are pertinent and they even incorporate explicit indicators and goals since the last two six-year-terms (Table 2).

Table 2 General aspects of the SAGARPA Sectorial Program during the period 2001-2013. 

Nombre Fecha de publicación Instrumentos/Herramientas Secretarios del ramo
Programa Sectorial de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación 2001 -2006 Diciembre de 2001 Diagnóstico actualizado Programas: 4 Objetivos: 36 Estrategias: 100 Líneas de acción: 363 No incluye indicadores o metas explícitos 2
Programa Sectorial de desarrollo Agropecuario y Pesquero 2007- 2012 28 de noviembre de 2007 Diagnostico actualizado Objetivos: 5 Metas: 27 Indicadores:26 Estrategias:28 Líneas de acción: 218 Incluye indicadores y metas explícitas 2
Programa Sectorial de Desarrollo Agropecuario, Pesquero y Alimentario 2013-2018. 13 de diciembre de 2013 Diagnóstico actualizado Estrategia Integral Pilares del cambio: 10 Indicadores: 10 Estrategia por subsectores Objetivos: 6 Estrategias: 37 Líneas de acción: 99 Incluye indicadores y metas explícitas 2

Source: elaborated based on sectorial programs of SAGARPA 2001-2006; 2007-2012; 2013-2018 (DOF, 2001b; DOF, 2007b; DOF, 2013).

However, it was also found that the Sectorial Plan from each six-year-term has only been a formality to comply with what is established in the current regulations (García, 2010), and it does not orient the public policies of the sector because of the following reasons:

  1. It does not consider the resources required to fulfill the goals, which is why any budgetary contingency serves as pretext to justify that the goals are not attained.

  2. When the causal structure of the problems to be addressed with the public policies is not made explicit, it is easy to justify the lack of compliance to the sectorial plan, arguing that the economic, political or social situations have changed and that the plan has lost validity.

  3. In the different consultations for its elaboration no commitments are generated with other actors of the sector, such as Congress, producers’ organization, or state governments, which is why they are considered only as a commitment of SAGARPA.

  4. From the operative approach, sectorial plans are published at the end of the first year of the six-year-term, that is, after the first two terms of Federal Spending Budget (Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación, PEF) of the six-year-period have been approved; that is, there are no programmatic or budgetary orientations for the first two years of government. In addition, when the legislature changes, shortly before the fourth year of government, the new representatives arrive without any antecedent of their content. This is accentuated with the changes of high-level officials in SAGARPA, which in each one of the last three six-year-periods has had an average of two Ministers of the Branch.

  5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the non-compliance of the goals does not have any consequence for the institutions and officials (Ugalde, 2014).

Therefore, agriculture and livestock sectorial planning does not have the capacity to generate government agenda. For these reasons, the programming and budgeting of the sectorial public policy does not consider the sectorial plans as a reference during its six-year-period of validity. In fact, according to Castro et al. (2009) the effective harmonization of the budgetary process with the instruments of planning is one of the largest areas of improvement of the accountability system of the Mexican government.

The design and approval of budgetary programs

Public policies are implemented through programs. A program is a set of activities related among each other, in which resources are exercised for the achievement of the objective that gives them sense and direction, with the aim of reaching a specific result in benefit of a target population (SHCP and CONEVAL, 2009). The programs must be potential generators of public value (Tapia, 2016); however, for the resources to be used effectively, the State must function as an entity of public interest, building an honest bureaucracy and a State-society relationship, where the social, political and economic actors are authorized and have the capacity to force the government to maintain the rule of law and fulfill its promises (Ackerman, 2004).

Thus, good government would be a way to exercise power, characterized by efficiency, transparency and accountability, the participation of civil society and the rule of law, indicating that a government is convinced of using the resources in favor of economic and social development (Dermizaky, 2000). This is why mechanisms to elaborate the public budget and those oriented at their monitoring and evaluation take on special relevance to ensure the efficiency and transparency of public function (Franciskovic, 2013). Therefore, once the limits of sectorial planning were presented, the typical process of elaboration of the SAGARPA’s programs-budgets is studied in this section.

According to Guerrero and López (2002), the budgetary process can be divided into four stages: i) Planning and formulation of the budget; ii) Review and approval; iii) Execution of public spending; and iv) Control and audit of the expenditure. Figure 1 shows the first two stages, which are the ones analyzed in this section.

*PPEF: Proyecto de Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación [Project of Federal Spending Budget]; PEF: Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación [Federal Spending Budget]; ROP: Reglas de Operación del Programa [Program’s Operation Rules]; AMSDA: Asociación Mexicana de Secretarios de Desarrollo Agropecuario [Mexican Association of Ministers of Agricultural and Livestock Development]; OSC: Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil [Civil Society Organizations]; CMDRS: Consejo Mexicano para el Desarrollo Rural [Mexican Council for Rural Development]; DOF: Diario Oficial de la Federación [Official Journal of the Federation].

Source: authors’ elaboration.

Figure 1 Elaboration process of a SAGARPA program-budget. 

Presentation of the programs-budgets: Based on what is established in the Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration, before the month of June of each year the government agencies must send to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, SHCP) the draft bill of expenditure (programs, projects, activities and budget), according to the specific guidelines that the Ministry publishes (Figure 1). Because of this, before the month of June, SAGARPA sends its programmatic proposal to be executed the following year, which to a great extent is inertial, although it can always include punctual changes. However, sometimes, particularly when a new government begins, there can be important changes. The SHCP integrates the programmatic structure with the information issued by each of the agencies and in the name of the Executive Power delivers it to the House of Representatives, on June 30 at the latest. The SHCP considers it and, if the case may be, modifies the draft bills elaborated by the agencies and integrates the Budgetary Project (Proyecto de Presupuesto, PPEF) and presents it to the House of Representatives, as established by the Federal Law of Budget and Financial Responsibility (Ley Federal de Presupuesto y Responsabilidad Hacendaria, LFPyRH), on September 8, as part of the Economic Package.

Budget review and approval: The Commission for Budget and Public Accounts of the House of Representatives is the one in charge of the analysis, discussion and approval of the PEF; it sends to another commission, the one for Agriculture and Livestock Production, whatever corresponds to the SAGARPA programs, so it can issue its opinion.

This is the moment when civil society organizations, consortiums, large producers, supplying companies, and other actors seek to interview with members of the Commission of Agriculture and Livestock Production to express their interests, propose modifications to budgetary items, and negotiate possible reassignments. Based on the interviews with key actors, it is possible to argue that at this level the modifications driven by the House of Representatives are based above all on political considerations, rather than in results from the implementation of programs in the past, and do not consider the goals of the sectorial plan; it is known that there are political factors and discretional criteria of those who apply or benefit from the programs (Herrera, 2013). Once the budgetary project has been redesigned, the ruling is discussed and the PEF is approved in the Plenary Session1, generally without adaptations to what was issued by the Agriculture and Livestock Production Commission. The evolution of the amounts allotted to the SAGARPA budgetary programs and their participation in the total PEF have an erratic behavior, with scarce relation to national priorities or performance by the programs, as has been documented by Gómez (1994) (Figure 2).

*Nominal prices deflated with the INPC Base=2010.

Source: elaborated from information of the PEF 2001-2016 (SHCP, 2016).

Figure 2 Evolution of the budget assigned to SAGARPA in the period 2001-2016. 

Formulation of the Results Indicator Matrix (RIM): Before the fiscal exercise, all budgetary programs approved in the PEF must have a RIM, which is a tool used in the Logical Framework Methodology to connect the different instruments used in the design, organization, execution, monitoring, evaluation and improvement of the programs (CONEVAL, 2009).

Given that the RIM and the information that supports it is the key instrument for a results oriented budget to function, by way of example an analysis was made of the information presented for the Integral Program for Rural Development (Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural, PIDR) 2014. The main findings were the following:

  • The tree of problems has a weak foundation and the causal complex indicates only generic conditions, which are not necessarily the fundamental causes of the main problem suggested. In addition, not all the primary causes have a logical relationship with secondary causes, which later translate into a scarce articulation with the central problem and its effects. The use of the diagnosis of the SAGARPA Sectorial Program could be a first aid to improve these weaknesses. However, problems of methodological nature must be overcome through training at the level of operative leadership, since they are generally the ones in charge of using the Logical Framework Matrix (Santoyo-Cortés et al., 2017).

  • The RIM shows a clear relationship with the objectives established in the NDP and the Sectorial Program, but the means to fulfill the objectives are mentioned in a very general manner and in some cases, they are inexistent. Thus, the level of operative, economic and political feasibility of the solution of problems cannot be established. It would seem that the program makers are limited to establishing as cause anything that implies lack of incentives (economic), which is why the problems are solved naturally with budgetary allotment for the delivery of goods and services to producers.

  • Five of the eleven activities designed in the Program are focused on the implementation of administrative actions that do not contribute solutions to the central problem and are directed at the program’s operators, for example: publishing calls for the reception of requests, contracting insurance policies to ensure productive assets, monitoring delay days in the publication of the calls, among others.

In sum, the Program Indicators Matrix analyzed is a good example of how these tools are designed following formally the methodologies established by international organizations such as the IDB (1997) and FAO (2004); however, its use to justify the appropriateness of actions is quite limited, so it turns out to be a formality rather than a real tool to influence the sector. This situation has already been seen in the institutional changes that took place before and after the six-year-period of 2000-2006, where recommendations and visions from international organizations were incorporated simply because they were popular within their discourses (Herrera-Tapia et al., 2009).

Formulation of the Programs’ Operation Rules (PORs): The normative areas of SAGARPA are the ones responsible for elaborating the PORs. These rules must specify, primarily, the target population, the eligibility criteria, the concepts and amounts of support, the operative mechanics, and the indicators of monitoring, which usually refer to the advancement in the exercise of spending and the coverage of beneficiaries. Generally, these titles are defined based on the logic with which the different types of programs have been operating, but also seeking to avoid normative titles that are difficult to document because they do not have observations from the internal control organs.

Validation of the PORs: Finally, the PORs are validated by the Mexican Council on Sustainable Rural Development (Consejo Mexicano de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable, CMDRS)2, the unionized producers’ organizations, and by the Mexican Association of Ministers of Agricultural and Livestock Development (Asociación Mexicana de Secretarios de Desarrollo Agropecuario, AMSDA). For the case of programs of subsidy to investment and technical services, such as PIDR, the first two actors have particular interest in simplifying access to resources, increasing the backing amounts, and reducing the counterpart of producers. At the same time, in the case of the AMSDA, their concern is directed at being able to exercise resources with greater freedom and the operation spending that they can eventually exercise as operators of the program.

Thus, it can be argued that during the whole phase of budgetary and normative authorization of the programs, the themes linked to historical or potential efficacy of the programs, criteria for their monitoring and performance evaluation or correlation with sectorial planning, are not considered. Rather, the interests of political, social and economic negotiation of the representatives, the SHCP, the state governments and the unionized organizations prevail.

Evaluation of programs and their impact

CONEVAL is the agency responsible for evaluating social policy in Mexico. This Council provides the terms of reference to carry out evaluations of the programs, depending on their horizon of evaluation; these can be basically of design, consistency and results, and specifically of performance, according to the type of program and time of operation (CONEVAL, 2016).

The evaluation is centered in the budgetary programs and not in sectorial policies; therefore, the monitoring of actions of an agency like SAGARPA becomes complicated when their programs change name, objectives or indicators. For example, the programs linked to rural development of SAGARPA have repeatedly changed name, aims and objectives since the year 2007 (Figure 3).

Source: authors’ elaboration based on SAGARPA Operation Rules 2001-2016 (SAGARPA, 2016).

Figure 3 Evolution of the Programs oriented at Rural Development. 

Thus, the two valid sectorial plans in this period have had seven budgetary programs, with very similar purposes, changing name in average every two years. This situation makes monitoring of the rural development policy considerably difficult, and no evidences of its performance are obtained. In addition, the design of the new programs does not incorporate the systematized learning by organizations in charge of the monitoring, tracking and evaluation of the preceding programs.

Another example is related to the programs oriented at SAGARPA extension services3. Figure 4 outlines how they have modified their design and operation: five times in the last 14 years; it is also convenient to consult Muñoz and Santoyo (2010), who do a review of the evaluation of extension work in Mexico and of its international context, moving from a traditional linear model to the proposal of an extension model based on the creation of innovation networks.

PRODESCA: Programa de Desarrollo de Capacidades [Program for the Development of Capacities]; ASTECA: Componente de Asistencia Técnica y capacitación [Component of Technical Assistance and Training]; PDCITER: Programa de Desarrollo de Capacidades, Innovación Tecnológica y Extensionismo Rural [Program of Development of Capacities, Technological Innovation and Rural Extension Work]; PIDR: Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural [Integral Program for Rural Development].

Source: authors’ elaboration based on SAGARPA programs’ Operation Rules.

Figure 4 Evolution of Extension Programs. 

In addition to extension programs having changed name, purpose and indicators in average every two years, their structures have been modified, intermittently placing technical assistance services, sometimes as programs and other times as components. This generates confusions, since CONEVAL tracks and evaluates budgetary programs and not their isolated components (DOF, 2005). This situation has caused in some years for there not to be evaluations of the actions of technical assistance and extension, limiting the generation of learning to improve their performance.

Something similar happens with indicators of the programs, which tend to change with the new name, although the policy involved is the same. Table 3 shows this situation for the case of programs or components associated to SAGARPA’s extension policy.

Table 3 Objectives and indicators of SAGARPA’s Extension Programs 2008-2014. 

Programa/Componente Periodo Indicadores
Programa de Soporte/Componente de Asistencia Técnica/ 2008-2010

  • % de productores que desarrollan capacidades

  • % de apoyos de capacitación y asistencia técnica brindados que corresponden a las prioridades de los planes y proyectos de desarrollo territorial.

  • % de beneficiarios que aplican las capacidades promovidas por los servicios de asistencia técnica, capacitación o extensionismo rural.

  • % de proyectos de investigación y transferencia de tecnología, alineados a la agenda de innovación respecto al total de proyectos aprobados.

Programa de Desarrollo de Capacidades y extensionismo rural 2011-2013

  • % de Comités Sistema Producto nacionales operando con planes rectores

  • $ de organizaciones sociales fortalecidas con Plan de trabajo.

  • % de beneficiarios de zonas marginadas que aplican las capacidades promovidas por los servicios de asistencia técnica, capacitación o extensionismo rural.

Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural (PIDR)/ Componente de Extensión e Innovación Productiva (CEIP) 2014-2015 •% de unidades de producción familiar en localidades rurales de alta y muy alta marginación que aplican las capacidades promovidas por servicios de asistencia técnica y capacitación

Source: elaborated based on the information of the PORs (SAGARPA, 2016).

In addition to this, the tendency also seen is that program indicators are essentially of coverage (Table 3), whether because of their simplicity for measuring or because they do not entail greater commitment than tending to the greatest number of potential beneficiaries, without taking into consideration their impacts and sustainability.

From 2008 to 2016, CONEVAL has evaluated seven programs linked to Rural Development (Figure 5) with three types of evaluations: i) design evaluation (D) that is directed at programs of recent creation or substantial modification of an existing program, with the purpose of analyzing the internal consistency of the elements that sustain and integrate the RIM, the coherence between its design and the applicable regulation, as well as the possible complementarities and duplicities with other programs; ii) specific performance evaluation (SPE), which is a synthetic valuation of the performance of programs through the analysis of indicators of results, services and management; and iii) evaluation of consistency and results (CR) (CONEVAL, 2016).

Figure 5 CONEVAL evaluations of the programs linked to Rural Development 2008-2015. 

Programa 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Programa para la Adquisición de Activos Productivos (PAAP) D EDD EDD
Programa de Soporte D EDD
Programa de Apoyo a la Participación de Actores para el Desarrollo Rural D EDD
Programa de Fortalecimiento a la Organización Rural EDD
Programa de Apoyo a la Inversión en Equipamiento e Infraestructura CR EDD
Programa de Desarrollo de Capacidades, Innovación Tecnológica y Extensionismo Rural CR EDD
Programa Integral de Desarrollo Rural (PIDR) D

*Types of evaluation: D: Design, SPE: Performance specific; CR: Consistency and results.

** The grey shading of the cell indicates the period of validity of the programs.

Source: authors’ elaboration based on data by CONEVAL (2016).

It should be highlighted that with each change in program name, the CONEVAL begins design evaluations anew. Since the programs last between two and three years, the impacts of the actions are not apt to be evaluated and they do not generate learning considered in the new programmatic designs. Probably, in part, the lack of impact evaluations of SAGARPA Programs is explained because of this type of details, which according to Cardozo (2013), is an area of improvement of all social policy in Mexico. Paradoxically, according to the officials interviewed, the changes in programs or their components have been linked to the intention of simplifying the PORs, improving control of budgets or showing a change with the arrival of a new government or official, while the intention of improving the appropriateness and compliance of sectorial objectives, which are always mentioned, are not sustained with robust evidences or indicators.

In sum, the results of evaluations of the programs have little impact on the improvement of the agriculture and livestock policy for the following reasons:

  • Evaluations are made of the budgetary programs and not of the policies or strategies, which is why a change in name of the programs is enough to lose continuity in the monitoring of indicators and in accountability.

  • The results of evaluations are known, in the best of cases, months after the beginning of the next fiscal exercise, which is why the possibility of taking them into account is, at the earliest, two fiscal exercises after the program is evaluated.

  • Considering the recommendations from the evaluations is not mandatory for the federal agencies involved, much less for the representatives or state governments.


Accountability of public policies requires as basic conditions: i) having a planning system that sets the priorities in the medium term; ii) connecting the different instruments used in the design, organization, execution, monitoring, evaluation and improvement of the programs through the adequate use of the Logical Framework Methodology; and iii) verifying the advances and limits of the programs through an evaluation system, with a vision of continuous improvement.

Mexico has these conditions formally, but the results orientation of its programs is widely questioned. First because the development and sectorial plans do not have an influence on government programs, which essentially have a budgetary nature. In fact, year after year, during the approval of the budgetary programs by the House of Representatives, the themes linked to the historical or potential efficacy of the programs, the criteria for their monitoring and performance evaluation or their correlation with sectorial planning are not taken into consideration and instead the interests of political negotiation prevail. This translates into the instruments of planning, monitoring and control associated to the RIM of the programs approved to be mere formality, without guaranteeing the design of results oriented programs as the current regulations indicate.

In terms of evaluation, because it is focused on budgetary programs, the changes in names and of RIM do not make possible the continuity in the monitoring of these public policies. Therefore, then, public policies cannot be improved in their design and budget, and they do not generate institutional learning.

These restrictions will have to be overcome for budgetary programs, particularly those of Rural Development by SAGARPA, to be truly oriented at results and impacts. For this purpose, it is suggested for the design, organization, execution, monitoring and evaluation (Logical Framework Methodology) to be carried out at the level of Public Policy; for example, at the level of Strategy or even of Line of Action of the Federal Government’s Sectorial Program, and for annual budgetary programs to be adjusted to their observance.


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1Plenary Session: the assembly that takes place in the session chamber of the Union Congress is called Plenary Session. Therefore, it is the organ with highest hierarchy within the House of Representatives.

2Based on the Law for Sustainable Rural Development, decreed on December 7, 2001, the CMDRS is considered the main consulting organ to incorporate the demands of the sector to the public policy agenda, since these development councils are created at the three levels: Federal, State and Municipal (Herrera-Tapia et al., 2009).

3 “The rural extension services consider all the different activities that are performed to provide the information and services that farmers and other actors of the innovation system need and demand, to help them develop their technical, organizational and management capacities, in order to improve their quality of life and wellbeing” (GFRAS, 2010).

Received: March 2017; Accepted: November 2017

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