The Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas: A Perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean 2021-2022
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This biennial report is the result of the joint efforts of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The health, economic and social crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic also offers opportunities for rebuilding and transformation that will strengthen resilience and reduce or prevent future crises. The pandemic has demonstrated that the principle of “rebuilding better” should be the basis of efforts to emerge from the crisis, which will necessitate the transformation of the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) development model and the implementation of the necessary adjustments in its agri-food systems (AFSs) to build resilience to future risks. Transformative actions will need to take into account the central role and importance of ensuring prosperous and inclusive AFSs and rural territories, given that they represent an important source of income, employment and food for the region and the world. LAC’s rural territories produce food for more than 800 million people; cultivate 14 % of the world’s crops; are home to a large part of the planet’s biodiversity, freshwater and natural forests; produce half of the energy in the region and provide the ecosystem services on which cities depend. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that even before the onset of the pandemic, it had been said that AFSs were in need of transformation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This was due to the fact that, prior to the pandemic, rural areas were already lagging considerably behind in terms of their development indicators, due to the interplay of multiple social, economic and territorial inequalities reproduced from one generation to the next.