Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean occupies the central and southern portion of the Americas. The region is home to the world’s largest river (the Amazon River), the largest rainforest (the Amazon Rainforest), and the longest mountain range (the Andes). Export-oriented agriculture constitutes an important part of the economy, especially in Brazil and Argentina. This large continent has a range of climates spanning the ice of Patagonia, the tropical forests of much of the continent, and more temperate regions in, for example, Mexico and Chile. Due to the greatly differing geography and economic development in the continent, all types of agriculture can be found in Latin America. Subsistence farming and cash cropping with coffee, cocoa and so on are common in many nations including most of central America, whereas large-scale beef production in the cerrado of Brazil provides an example of hyper-large farms run by large businesses.

26 May 2017

Through case studies in seven Latin American countries, this book looks at development and social change in food and agriculture across the region. It presents examples of how people diversely meet their food needs while confronting the region’s most pressing social, health and environmental concerns.

Photo: Joshua Rappeneker, Beef, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

An academic debate on the controversial possibility of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions via increased beef production in the Brazilian Cerrado finds a new set of commentators, who have responded to an original paper by de Oliveira Silva et al. earlier in 2016 in the same journal, Nature Climate Change.

Photo: jai Mansson, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
6 September 2016

This letter in Global Change Biology responds to a paper published earlier in the year in Nature Climate Change by de Silva et al (summarised by the FCRN here) which concludes that a combination of strict land controls and an increase in beef production in the Amazon could lead to greater emissions reduction than a scenario of land control and no beef production increases.

Photo: Dick Culbert, Acrocomia aculeata, immature Grugu Nuts, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
24 July 2016

The neotropical macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata) is increasingly promoted for large-scale cultivation as a sustainable biomass feedstock in Latin America. This paper warns however that a crucial proportion of areas predicted to be suitable for cultivation are located in areas of high conservational value. The paper also points to climate change scenarios which predict a substantial reduction of suitable areas in coming years.

1 April 2016

This article in Nature Climate Change titled Cropping frequency and area response to climate variability can exceed yield response, suggests that previous studies may have underestimated the impact of climate change on the world’s food supply.

3 February 2016

This very useful paper focuses on Brazilian beef production in the Cerrado grasslands region of Brazil makes an important contribution to the on-going debate about the merits of different livestock production systems, and of different consumption patterns.

18 January 2016

This article in the UK newspaper, the Guardian, tells the story of how Mexico implemented its soda tax in 2014, the political debates that surrounded the decision and the lobbying efforts and reactions of the country’s powerful soda industry.

17 December 2015

This study entitled, Can carbon emissions from tropical deforestation drop by 50% in 5 years?, published in Global Change Biology, discusses global carbon emission trends from deforestation and the case of Brazil in particular.

30 October 2015

Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are projected to reach 3.2 gigatonnes (CO2 eq.) by 2020. The government has made a voluntary commitment to reduce these by 40 per cent, and a reduction in deforestation and implementation of beef-related mitigation measures are key components of this commitment. Focusing on the Cerrado core (central Brazilian Savannah), this paper analyses the abatement potential and cost-effectiveness of GHG mitigation measures applicable to livestock production.

31 March 2015

In Africa and Latin America, the production of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which include higher temperatures and more frequent drought. Climate modeling suggests that, over the next several decades, the area suited for this crop in eastern and central Africa could shrink up to 50% by 2050.

4 June 2014

Fairfood International has published an issue briefing describing working conditions affecting sugar cane workers in Nicaragua.

2 May 2014

This study models two policies for increasing cattle ranching productivity in Brazil in order to analyse whether intensification of pasture-based cattle ranching would allow for rainforest protection and further enable Brazil to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and improve agricultural productivity.

27 March 2014

This working paper from the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), discusses Brazil's agroecological policies, and discuss them in relation to what the authors call the ‘Brazilian agricultural dilemma’ or the contradictions and conflicts of disproportionately supporting large-scale agribusiness for export over small-scale family farm production for domestic consumption.