FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

This document is the result of a joint effort by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

In every chapter, ECLAC, FAO and IICA offer policy recommendations that they consider necessary to reinvigorate the region's agriculture. In the particular case of family farming, the report recommends a clear focus on the need to implement intersectoral policies that will retain new replacement generations and foster innovation and knowledge management. Moreover, instruments need to be developed by which these farms can successfully enter value chains.

The Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas: A Perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean 2014

Key messages

  • The economy of Latin America and the Caribbean decelerated in 2012, and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to stabilize at growth rates approaching 3% during 2013, rising to levels of 3.5% and 4% in 2014.
  • During 2011, expanded agriculture in LAC was less dynamic than overall regional production, although performance was dissimilar among countries.
  • After a recovery in 2010 and a good performance in 2011, agricultural production in LAC lost its dynamism in 2013.
  • The growth of the livestock industry is a welcome economic bonanza for LAC, with great potential for family agriculture; however, the undesirable costs of this activity (especially environmental) must be carefully considered along with the benefits of that growth.
  • Forest degradation and the loss of forest cover continue to be substantial in LAC, depriving rural populations of development opportunities.
  • Aquaculture production has grown gradually and steadily in LAC; it has now caught up with extractive fishing as a share of the overall catch.
  • Most countries of LAC have observed rising rates of rural employment outside of agriculture and in wage labor; both trends reflect the changing structure of production in rural economies.
  • Countries look to family farming as the key to food security and rural wll-being.