Modernising agriculture in Latin America


Modernising agriculture in Latin America

Kelli Lycke

MAY 9, 2017

We will always be people of the land.

Our world’s subsistence and nourishment are provided by the vast agricultural economy and its preservation. The market itself is finding new approaches to innovate cultivation practices, adopt sustainable farming methods, and incorporate new technology to improve the agricultural economy as a whole.

Unfortunately, given that there are a multiplicity of differing economic conditions and government initiatives worldwide, the innovation process is slow and varies according to each country and region. While many European governments provide incentives for ecological farming practices to small and medium-sized farms, innovation in agriculture for developing economies is highly dependent on the private sector and tends to be isolated to corporate farming, leaving small local farmers dependent on a monopolized economy keeping them at a disadvantage when it comes to investing in innovation.

Fortunately, there are various programs from the private to the public sector that can pave the way towards innovation and investment in both first-world and developing economies. Let’s have a deeper look into the two most prominent methods.

1. Brazil’s credit support system

The Brazilian government has recently focused on the development and innovation of large to medium scale farms, as well as small farming in rural areas. Most of its support to the farming industry comes from implementation of policies that facilitate credit and loans for farmers looking to improve their farming practices.

There are multiple funds directly affected by these governmental policies whose lending systems are based on financing projects that promote development, innovation, and environmental sustainability. Modernisation of local family farms is also supported through these programs, which is a huge improvement from most other Latin American countries.

The Brazilian government’s credit support of farmers large and small alike is one step in the right direction for innovation but has some room for improvement. Its focus is mostly centered on productivity and the current market conditions. In order to improve, innovative practices should be proliferated as well as a simplification of loan procedures for farmers looking to improve their cultivation conditions.

2. Colombia’s farm networks

Taking into account another Latin American developing economy, Colombia’s agricultural sector is also growing due to the increasing population and high demand. This, of course, has its ups and downs as developing agricultural economies generally do.

The organization is a product of the partnership between local government, the Economic Development Secretariat, and small local farmers are known as Familia de la Tierra, which together created a network of local farms in order to respond to these complexities in the market.

Their goals consist in creating “spaces for production and community work on producing and saving native and traditional farmers’ seeds; composting; agroecological food production; processing and adding value; and marketing.”

These sorts of organizations reach the traditional farmer in developing countries in a different way, teaching innovation through education.

Colombian agricultural economy is highly dependent on the exploitation of local small-farmers, and Familia de la Tierra is an attempt to combat that by localizing the whole farming process, from cultivation to packaging, as well as giving an educational space for open discussion to the farmers. Most of these transitional economies rely heavily on an agricultural product, but at the expense of the small local farmer.

However, learning from the examples above, incrementing the participation between governments, private organizations, financial organizations, and small farmers would highly affect innovation in the agricultural economies of developing Latin American economies. InnPrograms like these would promote sustainable agricultural practices and can improve economic conditions in the long term for both the farmer and his customers.

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