Between 1983 and 1993, IPHD provided 265,995 metric tons of supplementary foods, donated by the U.S. Government, to one million Mexicans monthly, mainly the rural poor. The value of foodstuffs medicines and other donations to Mexico was worth around $110 million during those years. The IPHD program in Mexico was carried out by its NGO partner DESMI which was the Organization for the Social and Economic Development of the Mexican Indian, headquartered in the town of Ixmilquilpan, Hidalgo State, and founded in the early 1960s by Monsignor Lino Gussoni, who was also one of the founders of IPHD. Because of his work with the Indians, especially the Otomi, he became known as the Apostal to the Otomi. In 1987, IPHD began to monetize U.S. foods and to use the proceeds for project activities. During the 1980s, IPHD’s Mexico program was the second or third largest food aid program in the world. Caritas Mexico was another partner organization of IPHD, especially in 1992 and 1993.
In some years, IPHD monetized up to $6 million of food commodities for project activities. Among the many projects carried out by IPHD in Mexico were the following:
- Water projects installed in 20 villages.
- Credits for over 2,000 farmers.
- Credits for 5,000 women.
- Over 100,000 trees planted, including 40,000 fruit trees (including peach, fig and others).
- Family health and nutrition edcation for 200,000 people.
- Built over 1,500 latrines for the rural poor.
- Treatment programs for elminating parasites and dehydration and also distribution of vitamins for over 100,000 children.
- Poultry and pig-raising
- Over 1000 home gardens.
- House consruction in Cantinelo, Mesquital Valley
- Repair of roads and irrigation systems.
- A fish pond project became one of the most successfull activities.
- Distribution of 14,000 sets of 10 chickens and a rooster to an equal number of families.
- Development of bee-keeping project.
- Block-making project for construction purposes.
- Veterinarian project that treated 1,306 cows, 381 goats and sheep, 3,000 chickens for 425 families.
- Clearing 800 hectares of land for farming.
- Implementation of growth surveillance system for 10,000 children under age 5.
- Purchase of 5,000 tons of local foods such as beans, rice, cornmeal, and other products for distribution.
- Medical program for 5,000 families.
- 7.5 kilometer irrigation system to irrigate 1,500 hectares of farmland.
IPHD’s studies of children receiving food rations showed that after 6 months the child’s nutrition level generally improved and at 9 months the child could be taken off of donated foods and remain healthy, as long as his mother was educated during that period of time to the proper nutritional and hygiene care of her child.
U.S. donated milk powder was converted into a chocolate syrup called “cajeta” to prepare a local drink or to eat as is. This was highly accepable by children under age 5.
Because of the large resource base, the Mexico Program did not end until 1996.