Food production in Latin America and the Caribbean can easily meet the needs of its entire population. The problem of hunger in the region is not due to a lack of food, but a lack of access for the poorest in the region.
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the main food producing and exporting regions in the world. It has an enormous natural richness, a thriving agricultural industry and a family farming sector that is critical to the food security of its population.
The main challenge for the region is to tackle deforestation, which has declined in recent years but remains high. In a positive contrast, the area of forest designated for conservation of biodiversity in the region has grown by 3 million hectares per year since 2000.
The contribution of aquaculture to the regional economy has grown substantially over the past 10 years. It provides employment for over 200,000 people directly and about 500,000 indirectly. FAO promotes sustainable production of fisheries and aquaculture, to protect the resource and supports artisanal and small producers.
The accelerated growth of livestock farming has allowed Latin America to become the largest beef and poultry exporter in the world, representing around 45% of the region's agricultural GDP. Nevertheless, this growth requires a focus on sustainability to avoid growing stress on the region's natural resources and the environment.
FAO is committed to the enhancement of food safety and quality along the food chain at all levels protecting consumers and promoting fair practices in food trade trough the adoption of the standards made by Codex Alimentarius.
Rural women are responsible for more than half of the world´s food production, play an important role in preserving biodiversity, and ensure food sovereignty and security through the production of healthy food. However, women live under circumstances marked by social, political and economic inequality, with just 30% of land ownership, 10% of loans, and 5% of technical assistance.
The fight against hunger and poverty has as a fundamental condition: respect for the environment and preservation of natural resources. Therefore, FAO promotes sustaninable techniques for agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry management that protect natural resources.
With a population of about 50 million people, 670 indigenous peoples living in Latin America and the Caribbean are an indisputable source of identity and diversity. Agrifood systems developed by these peoples, their traditional diets and production systems are a heritage of incomparable value to achieve a world without hunger.