WASHINGTON, USA -- Latin America and the Caribbean region can help feed a global population of nine billion people in 2050 provided the region implements key policy actions to bolster agricultural productivity, according to a new report released today by the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Drawing on knowledge and experience from more than 30 public and private sector partners, The Next Global Breadbasket: How Latin America Can Feed the World outlines challenges, recommendations and action items for policy makers, the donor community, farmers, agribusiness, and civil society.
Population growth and dramatic diet changes will, over the next several decades, place great stress on agriculture worldwide. The Next Global Breadbasket describes the role of Latin America and the Caribbean region (LAC) in addressing this challenge, as well as its opportunity to increase development, reduce poverty, and support social progress across the region.
“Latin America has immense potential to help meet our planet’s growing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel in a sustainable, productive way. By putting in place a comprehensive agenda of pro-agriculture policies, Latin America can attract the investments and innovations to become the 21st century global breadbasket,” said Dr Margaret M. Zeigler, executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative.
The LAC region contributes 11 percent of the value of current world food production and represents 24 percent of the world’s arable land. The region has about 28 percent of the world’s land that has been identified as having medium to high potential for sustainable expansion of cultivated area, and 36 percent share of land that is within six hours travel time to a market.
“Already the largest net food exporting region in the world, LAC has achieved only a fraction of its potential to expand agricultural production for regional consumption and global export,” according to Ginya Truitt Nakata, operations senior specialist at the IDB. “The next 10 to 20 years offer a critical window of opportunity to advance new forms of productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture in the region.”
Key areas for policy action and investment in which the public and private sectors can and must move forward together include:
• Agriculture science, research, and development
• Knowledge and extension services for farmers
• Transport and logistics infrastructure
• Irrigation, water management and mechanization technology
• Regional and global trade
• Farmers’ access to financial services: managing risk and availability of credit
• Cooperatives and producer associations
• Reduction of post-harvest losses