May 31, 2020

Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean and the keys to its future

Agriculture is a crucial activity for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean, a region rich in resources that has the potential to become a major provider of food security for the planet.

This is recognized by experts and was recently embodied in the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of America that was organized in Costa Rica last week by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

Here are some keys identified by the ministers and experts for the development of agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean.


The region has a quarter of arable land and a third of the world's freshwater resources, and also its exports of agricultural products correspond to 15% of the global total.

"We are the largest net food export region in the world, we must be proud of this but we can do more," said IICA Director General Manuel Otero.

Otero said that long-term policies are necessary for the growth and progress of agriculture and rurality, in areas such as smart industrialization that adds value to agriculture, social responsibility actions and smart agriculture in nutrition.


The concept of bioeconomics is being heard more and more in the region and according to data cited by IICA, global bioproduct sales are growing at a rate of 7.5%, while traditional agricultural products at 2.5%.

The bioeconomy allows us to take advantage of biological wealth to enhance productive development, promotes low-carbon and resilient development, takes advantage of waste in a profitable way, raises the alternative use of biomass, generates sophisticated value chains in innovative industries such as construction, pharmacy and of cosmetics, and raises the use of rural areas as biofactories.

The report "Prospects for agriculture and rural development in the Americas: a look towards Latin America and the Caribbean 2019-2020", prepared by IICA, FAO and ECLAC, identified the bioeconomy as a priority point for development region of.


The IICA, FAO and ECLAC report notes that rural poverty in the region increased from 45.1% to 46.4% between 2014 and 2017; that the number of undernourished people reached 42.5 million, while overweight and obesity affect 7.7% of children under 5 and 24% of the adult population.

“The rural and agricultural world of Latin America and the Caribbean is a key piece of world food security. It produces food for hundreds of millions, houses 50% of global biodiversity and has 30% of arable soils. Agriculture, food systems and the rural environment are part of the solution to boost the development of the region and represent a huge opportunity that we cannot miss ”, explained the FAO regional representative, Julio Berdegué.

The study points to the urgency of promoting rural development because it offers agricultural, food and productive opportunities, as well as possibilities for new energy development and to address poverty, hunger and climate change.


The hurricanes and droughts that in recent years have devastated some countries in the region, has revealed the need to strengthen cooperation in the face of climate change.

"The carnage of Hurricane Dorian for three days taught our citizens lessons about climate change and global warming that years of international comments on greenhouse gas emissions have failed to teach," said the Minister of Marine Resources and Agriculture of Bahamas, Michael Pintard, during the Conference of Agriculture Ministers in Costa Rica.

The minister stressed the importance of cooperation from countries and organizations such as IICA to work on rehabilitation programs with affected producers.


The general manager of the Microsoft Public Sector for Latin America, Anayda Frisneda, said in a forum on rural inclusion in the digital era organized by IICA, that agriculture can improve its productivity through the use of the cloud and artificial intelligence, "without need for large investments in infrastructure. "

These can be applied in precision agriculture, intelligent cultivation, production predictions, drone surveillance, crop planning and storage, analytics, among others.

The great challenge of the region is to guarantee access to the internet and other technologies for farmers in rural areas.

Douglas Marin

. (tagsToTranslate) agriculture (t) Latin America (t) Caribbean (t) keys (t) future

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