Latin America holds 42% of the world’s agriculture expansion potential
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Latin America is one of the few regions of the world where agriculture production can expand since it holds 42% of that potential globally.
Latin America is a net exporter of food and plays an important role when addressing the challenge of increasing world food production so as to guarantee food security in the future.
“In spite of the regrettable abandonment of agriculture and the campo suffered during several decades not so long ago”, the sector is bound to adopt a vanguard role given the global need to face the economic, food and environment challenges”.
Improving productivity is a problem for the region because during the last fifty years, “there was a great lag in the increase of yields”, but there was also “a great dependence on the derivates from oil”.
In recent years growth has focused in a few crops, mainly soybeans and corn in the south linked to changes in production techniques such as direct sowing.
But to improve yields there must be an investment in science, technology and innovation and in Latin America with a few exceptions such as Brazil and Uruguay, “not much is being invested in technology”.
“The whole of Latin America invests less in science and technology that what Spain and Korea individually, and we must revert this tendency to produce with greater restrictions in soil and water looking to the future”.
Another area which needed action is in agriculture due to the effects of climate change because “we can’t afford to wait to see the yields drop as a consequence of global heating.
Reaching conciliation between the profit interests of farmers and environmental commitments is ‘not easy’ as can be seen by the expansion of the area dedicated to soybeans because of the good prices and strong demand from China.
Agriculture in the 34 members of the region has a variable weight with an average 10% of GDP, but if agro-business is included the percentage soars to a third of GDP in countries such as Brazil.
The good performance of the economies in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay “rests on the effectiveness of farm production and agro-business exports”, and agriculture remains the main means of living for the great rural population of the region.
Therefore one of the challenges faced by agriculture in the region is to make benefits help combat rural poverty, which still represents tens of millions in the region.
At the end of 2017 the rural population in the world helds 52% of total poverty and in the countries where it has most dropped are those linked to the agriculture ‘boom’ with production linked to foreign markets such as the case of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
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Post available in: English