The relationship of Florence and Tropical Agriculture dates to the beginning of the last century. In 1904 the Italian Agricultural Colonial Institute (IACI) was founded and in 1913 it started a tropical specialization course for postgraduates in Agriculture.
In 1938 ICI become the Agricultural Institute for Italian Africa, agency of the Ministry of Italian Africa with specialization courses in tropical and subtropical agriculture.
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 the 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 up to 2018, the course was held in agreement with IAO (now Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo - AICS), and at present the course if fully handled by the University of Florence (School of Agriculture and Department of Agricultural, Environmental, Food and Forestry Science and Technology - DAGRI)
The degrees in tropical agriculture are a peculiarity of the University of Florence. The School of Agriculture of Florence has gradually acquired expertise and links in tropical and international relationship.
Students graduated in our MSc course have got job positions as EU or FAO expert, manager in public and private firms operating in agro-food sectors overseas, project manager for Italian Ministry, project director in several NGOs.