Latin America: Agricultural perspectives from Rabobank

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  • The Latin American region is an important net exporter of food and agricultural commodities, accounting for 16% of total global food and agriculture exports and 4% of total food and agriculture imports.
  • The region is one of the few parts of the world with significant resources of unexploited agricultural land (concentrated in Brazil and Argentina), suggesting the region will continue to play a pivotal role in global food production and exports in the future.
  • Many of the region´s countries have achieved respectable rates of agricultural productivity growth in the recent past. Nevertheless, raising productivity will be essential to meet domestic food needs or to maintain or enhance export competitiveness.
  • It will be as important to the region to sustainably raise the agricultural productivity and output of smallholdings as it will be to boost the output of export powerhouses such as Brazil and Argentina.

A profile of Latin American agriculture

Latin America has long been associated with the production and export of a diverse range of agricultural commodities, whether it is coffee from Brazil and Colombia, beef from Argentina, or bananas from Ecuador. Trade data show that the region is indeed an important net exporter of agricultural commodities to the world, accounting for an estimated 16% of global food and agriculture exports between 2012 and 2014, while representing just 4% of global food and agriculture imports over the same period (Figure 1). Behind the aggregate statistics for exports is an impressive list of commodities for which the region, and South America in particular, is the leading supplier to the world market.

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Economic Research of Rabobank

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