The relationship of Florence and Tropical Agriculture dates back to the beginning of the last century.
In 1904 was founded the Italian Colonial Institute (ICI).
In 1912 ICI started a tropical specialization course for postgraduates in Agriculture.
In 1938 ICI become Agricultural Institute for Italian Africa, agency of the Ministry of Italian Africa with specialization courses in tropical and subtropical agriculture.
In 1939 the specialization become a 2 years course.
After the second world war the Institute become agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) with the name of Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (IAO) from 1959.
Collaborations between IAO and Faculty of Agriculture got gradually intensified and in 1980 a degree course of 4 years was started in Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture.
In 2002 university courses became 3 + 2 years following the European system, and the course in tropical agriculture become a II level University Master course (MSc, 2 years).
In 2012 the course was shift to English with the name of “Tropical Rural Development”, also with full immersion classes of 2-3 weeks and exams soon after each class.
From September 2014 the course is held in agreement with IAO (now Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo - AICS), starting teaching integration of the University course and the Agency of MAE.
The degrees in tropical agriculture are a peculiarity of the University of Florence, in Italy there are similar courses. The School of Agriculture of Florence has gradually acquired expertize and links in tropical and international relationship.
Students graduated in our courses have got job positions including EU or FAO experts, managers in public and private firms operating in agro-food sectors overseas, project manager per Italian Ministry, project director in several NGOs.