The Latin American region is crucial net exporter the food and farming commodities, audit for 16% that total global food and farming exports and 4% of total food and farming imports.

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The region is one of the couple of parts that the people with far-reaching resources that unexploited agricultural land (concentrated in Brazil and also Argentina), suggesting the region will continue to play a pivotal duty in global food production and also exports in the future.Many of the region´s countries have achieved respectable prices of farming productivity expansion in the recent past. Nevertheless, raising productivity will be necessary to meet residential food requirements or to preserve or boost export competitiveness.It will certainly be as crucial to the region to sustainably raise the farming productivity and output that smallholdings as it will be to an increase the output of export house house such together Brazil and also Argentina.

A file of Latin American agriculture

Latin America has long been connected with the production and also export of a diverse variety of agricultural commodities, whether it is coffee native Brazil and also Colombia, beef from Argentina, or bananas from Ecuador. Profession data display that the region is indeed an important net exporter of agricultural commodities come the world, audit for an approximated 16% of global food and farming exports in between 2012 and also 2014, while representing simply 4% of global food and agriculture imports over the same duration (Figure 1). Behind the accumulation statistics for exports is an exceptional list of assets for i m sorry the region, and also South America in particular, is the leading supplier to the world market.

Figure 1: Latin America – share of global trade in food and agriculture
Source: UN Comtrade, FAO,

Latin America is because of this important for the worldwide food and farming sector. Furthermore, the is same true the food and agriculture is essential for Latin America – the sector account for vital share that the complete exports the the region´s member states (Figure 2).

Figure 2: re-publishing of farming exports in complete country exports, through value
Source: WTO global Trade Statistics 2014

Figure 3 presents more detail ~ above the agricultural trade balance of individual countries, highlighting their respective contributions come the region´s agricultural trade. Brazil and Argentina command the region in regards to exports and net exports, thanks to their an international importance together exporters of grains and also oilseeds and animal protein. Mexico functions as the region´s largest importer, with net exports close to zero.

Figure 3: Latin America – farming imports and exports (USD bn, median 2012 – 2014)
Source: UN Comtrade database 2015

The structure of the region´s farming is an extremely diverse. Although huge farms account for much of the commercial farming that generates Brazilian and Argentinean exports, that is approximated that an ext than 50% that the Latin American region´s food production comes from its 14 million smallholder farmer (IDB/Global Harvest Initiative, 2014). Because that this reason, there is an huge variation – in terms of the scale and also sophistication of agriculture and in terms of its donation to the economic climate – between Latin American countries, as depicted in figure 4, to compare agriculture´s share of GDP, agriculture´s share of the workforce, and the absolute value of farming GDP throughout the region.

Figure 4: Latin America – agricultural GDP, agriculture´s re-superstructure of GDP and agriculture´s share of the labor force (2012 and 2013 data)
Source:, using data from the world Bank, FAO (2015)

Brazil stands out as being the local leader in regards to absolute agricultural GDP. This may seem organic as Brazil is also by much the largest country in the an ar in terms of land area and in regards to mouths to feed. That is additionally evident that agriculture in Brazil account for relatively small percentages that the country´s GDP (5.7%) and also workforce (11.0%), although it is worth noting the agribusiness in Brazil has actually a far higher share of GDP (an approximated 25%) than farming alone, together is additionally the case for Argentina (agribusiness re-superstructure of GDP estimated at 25% - 30%). However, since statistics on the contribution of agriculture to the economic climate are accessible for far much more countries 보다 is the instance for statistics ~ above the contribution of agribusiness come the economy, we opt to use the previous indicator in this comparison.

At the other end of the spectrum, in countries such as Bolivia, Guatemala and Paraguay, farming accounts for a somewhat bigger share the GDP (13.3%, 11.3% and also 21.6%, respectively) and a much bigger share of the labor force (41%, 35% and also 28%, respectively), however the absolute worth of farming GDP is reasonably small.

With regard to the structure of farming production, the majority of Latin American nations for i m sorry data is available (Table 1) present a significant concentration of floor holding in the hands of huge private owners, a tradition of the colonial period in countless countries´ histories.

Table 1: structure of soil holdings in Latin American countries
Source: FAO 2014

Naturally, the quality of land and also climate in a nation or an ar is necessary in determining the farming potential of each hectare the farmland. That is this, in addition to the structure of soil holdings, that mostly determines the agricultural profile the countries and also regions.

The fairly low re-superstructure of labour in farming combined v relatively large holdings in Argentina, Uruguay and also Brazil shows the prominence in this countries´ agricultural profiles of big holdings of savannah/cerrado/pampas land wherein the emphasis has been on (i) highly mechanised large production the field plants such together grains and oilseeds and also (ii) considerable livestock rearing. Elsewhere, irrigation contributes considerably to the performance of drier land in regions of north and main Mexico, Peru, Chile and western Argentina. In the highlands of the Andes, coffee manufacturing – mostly on little family ranches – is focused in valleys and also on lower slopes in Colombia and Peru, however throughout the Andes, with raising altitude soil becomes increasingly less productive, and also poverty correspondingly an ext prevalent.

The outlook because that Latin American agriculture: challenges and opportunities

Global need for farming commodities is rising as a result of the growing an international population and rising actual incomes. The world´s populace is projected to with 9 billion human being by 2050, and also demand because that food is forecast to it is in 60% higher than that is today (, 2014). Although part of the need for greater output have the right to be met by elevating productivity, new land will nonetheless be forced for agriculture in the future. The circulation of unexploited agricultural land around the human being is extremely uneven, v the Latin American an ar – and also specifically Brazil and also Argentina – standing out as having significant future potential (Figure 5). In addition, the region is residence to an estimated one-third that the planet´s fresh water resources. For these reasons, Latin America is seen as a key supplier of farming commodities come a growing human being population, and it is no simultaneously that international trading companies have actually been investing in infrastructure and origination capacity for grains and also oilseeds about the region.

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For the region to accomplish its potential together an increasingly important supplier of food come the world, a variety of challenges have to be overcome. In a world of volatile commodity prices, enterprise or economies that are very dependent on sales of one product must be durable in order to deal with price cycles and also price volatility. As output rises, the need for good infrastructure i do not care increasingly vital to avoid rise in costs and in accident or waste of food.

Although over there are an extensive reserves that unexploited farming land in the region, these space not evenly distributed amongst countries, definition that raising efficiency will be necessary in countless parts of the region in order come meet domestic needs and also to capitalise on fiddle opportunities. As a result, it will be as essential to the region to sustainably raise the productivity and also output that smallholdings together it will to boost the output of export house house such as Brazil and also Argentina. Given these challenges, what will certainly be the most important components influencing the degree to which the region capitalises on its potential in the future?