The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region has a third of the world’s fresh water resources – more than any developing region per capita – and over a quarter of the world’s medium to high potential farmland. The region is already the largest net food exporter in the world and yet has only achieved a small fraction of its potential agricultural production.

In addition to its abundant natural resources, LAC has a large number of farmers, who have extensive experience and capacity to innovate, as well as relatively strong institutions and markets.

The essential building blocks for massive and sustainable agricultural growth are already in place.

LAC has 28% of the world’s medium to high potential farmland and 1/3rd of the world’s fresh water.
More than half of the food produced in LAC comes from the region’s 14 million smallholders.
36% of LAC’s agricultural land is within six hours travel time to a market.
30% of the LAC region’s labor force is in agriculture.

To realize the potential of a more productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture in LAC, the region’s governments and their multilateral partners must put agriculture at the very center of the development agenda. Priorities should include agricultural research, extension, infrastructure, trade and innovation.

The next 10 to 20 years offer a critical window of opportunity to advance new forms of productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean – and thereby help ensure global food security at mid-century.