IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH looks back on a company history of more than 40 years. Here we present the most important milestones.
Committed to sustainability: Company foundation and first foreign assignments
IAK is founded as VEB Interagrarkooperation with its headquarters in the White House in the agra Park in Markkleeberg near Leipzig. Its main field of business is the implementation of agricultural development aid projects of the GDR abroad.
In its first year, IAK supported, among other things, a large project in Vietnam, one of the most sustainable agricultural projects in development cooperation in all of Germany. The goal was to establish coffee cultivation in the Asian country. This has been successful – Vietnam is now the world's second-largest coffee producer.
Projects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East
One of IAK's core competencies is the establishment of model farms and the training of agricultural experts. It does this together with practical farms, scientific institutions such as the Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Leipzig, and training centers in Altenburg and Nordhausen.
Commercial project development and consulting and technical assistance
Private sector consulting projects, in which IAK works closely with the agricultural engineering plant construction and export sector, include the export of black and white heifers and breeding bulls to Angola and the dispatch of skilled personnel for milk production plants to Kuwait.
Upheavals in East German agriculture
In June 1990, GDR development aid is taken over by the newly created GDR Development Aid Ministry and transferred from there to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation. By entering the project market as a privatized consulting company, this marks a new beginning for IAK. In eastern Germany, IAK is involved in the transformation process by assisting agricultural cooperatives with restructuring and advising family farms on setting up. It also organizes seminars on DM opening balance sheets, for example.
Privatization and first major commercial projects at home and abroad
IAK is sold by the Federal Trust Company to KWS Saat AG and integrated into the Group's multifaceted corporate strategy. Private-sector consulting draws up extensive privatization concepts, as the process of privatization is limited until the end of the year. At the same time, an agritourism company and a human resources management company are spun off, both of which are still active on the market today.
In the same year, the first project as implementer for GTZ (today GIZ) on forest education in Laos and an evaluation project in Mongolia start.
First project for the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry
In Lithuania, IAK advises on farm privatization and conducts training seminars and a project on land management that will run until 2000.
Successful conclusion of the Development Policy Round Table
After four years, the Development Policy Round Table, in which IAK had participated from the beginning, comes to an end. Development aid funds collected in the GDR amounting to DM 34 million, which had been frozen by the Federal Ministry of Finance, are released and made available primarily to NGOs through the newly established North-South Bridges Foundation. To this day, the North-South Bridges Foundation remains a successful NGO in the diverse landscape of development policy organizations in the Federal Republic of Germany.
First East-West Agricultural Forum
Since 1995, IAK has participated every year in the International Green Week or East-West Agricultural Forum – now GFFA.
First IAK Entrepreneur Days
Since 1999, IAK has held the Entrepreneur Days every two years. Here, agricultural businesses from Germany can exchange information with each other and learn about the latest developments in agricultural policy, economics, finance and law.
Management buyout and completion of the first EU seed project in Latin America
Interagrarkooperation GmbH is spun off from KWS Saat AG and merges with KWS' subsidiary Agrar Consulting GmbH Einbeck to form IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH, which has its registered office in Leipzig. Practical experience from private-sector consulting is thus combined with expertise in political consulting and institutional promotion for the benefit of global clients.
After more than ten years of operation, IAK successfully concludes the first project it has carried out for the EU. The project objective was to promote the seed sector in Argentina.
Milk Manager Training
For agricultural specialists from medium-sized and large dairy farms in Germany, IAK has been offering annual milk manager training courses since 2002. The two-day event includes technical presentations, opportunities to exchange experiences and a tour of one of the participating farms.
Private sector research and industry cooperation
IAK takes over LUB Landwirtschaftliche Unternehmensberatung GmbH Leipzig. For Claas, it is carrying out a project in Russia to advise agricultural reference farms, which will run until 2011. Parallel to the cooperation with CLAAS, IAK produces the first textbook for digital agriculture in arable farming.
Redemption of old LPG debts
IAK provides comprehensive consulting services within the framework of the old debt consolidation program of the Federal Republic of Germany and successfully assists more than 60 farms with the redemption of their old LPG debts.
From this year on, the largest central German trade fair for agriculture, forestry and food industry will take place again in Leipzig and IAK will be there every year with its own stand.
First Agricultural Policy Dialogue
On behalf of the BMEL, the IAK begins with the implementation of its first Agricultural Policy Dialogue (APD). The APD Kazakhstan focuses on partnership and bilateral exchange at the agricultural policy level. In the following years, further agricultural policy exchange formats develop with the partner countries and regions Ukraine, China, Mongolia, Brazil, Argentina and the Western Balkans, which IAK supervises as an implementer.
DeLaval milking carousel and Elbe floods
In Thuringia, one of the first fully automatic milking carousels in Germany and worldwide goes into operation. IAK provided consulting support for the process, from planning and preparation of financing to implementation and commissioning.
During the great Elbe flood in June, the agricultural cooperative "Schwarzbuntzucht" Fischbeck, Saxony-Anhalt, is almost completely flooded after a dike breaks. 1,500 of 1,850 hectares of agricultural land are flooded, 1,400 cattle are trapped by the water, which only stopped at a threshold in front of the barn. To support the agricultural cooperative, IAK initiates a fundraising campaign. IAK, its employees, agricultural companies and cooperation partners together donate more than 15,000 Euros, which can be made available to the agricultural cooperative.
GIZ project in Ethiopia
In 2015, IAK wins a major GIZ project in Ethiopia on "Vocational Training and Qualification in Agriculture" – one of the most important topics in development cooperation – as the lead partner.
Other projects in Ukraine
In addition to the already existing Agricultural Policy Dialogue in Ukraine, we succeed in establishing further projects in the Eastern European country: for consulting in agricultural trade, for technical assistance for an agricultural pilot farm and training center, for establishing organic farming, and for consulting in forestry policy.
Innovations, start-ups, agricultural technology
IAK's consulting activities are increasingly focusing on innovation management, agricultural start-ups and the intensification of cooperation between agricultural consulting, agricultural engineering and science.
Land Management Toolbox
Together with Dr. Schindler Geo Consult International GmbH, IAK is developing the Land Management Toolbox (LMT) – a plug-in for the widely used, freely available geoinformation system Quantum GIS. With LMT, tasks of cadastral, agricultural and land tax management as well as land planning can be efficiently performed. The target group is primarily developing countries whose rural cadastral systems are in the process of being established and which require simple applications. LMT is universally applicable, but can also be adapted to specific requirements.
Climate change and protection in agriculture
In the projects in Ukraine, Mongolia and China, climate protection measures are being stepped up and adaptations to climate change – so-called climate components – are being made in the agricultural and food sectors. This will gradually expand structural capacities in relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions in the field of agriculture and climate.
Virtual study tour
The constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic require creative solutions in project management. This gives rise to innovative digital formats such as the virtual expert information tour, which is being conducted as part of the German-Chinese Agricultural Center (DCZ) funded by the BMEL: Video interviews with experts and institutions subtitled in several languages are available on the specially set up website www.smart-agriculture.org.
40 years of IAK and foundation of DINAK
In the 40th year of its existence, IAK is in charge of more than 180 farms in Germany with a total of 270,000 ha of agricultural land, about 60,000 cows, other farm branches and special crops. It is active in 18 countries and 15 international projects.
In consortium with INL – Privates Institut für Nachhaltige Landbewirtschaftung GmbH, Halle (Saale), IAK founds DINAK – Deutsches Institut für Nachhaltige Agrarkultur. The aim is to analyze the degree of sustainability of primary agricultural processes using objectively measurable indicators.
War in der Ukraine
Four IAK projects are also directly affected by the war in Ukraine. Together with the BMEL, the IAK continues the partnership cooperation under the now very difficult conditions, also thanks to the great commitment of the local experts.