Latin America

For U.S., regional ag imports are ‘a story about Mexico’

Agricultural imports from Latin America and the Caribbean grew at a compound annual growth rate of 6.9 percent in the 12 years following the Great Recession, much faster than the global rate of 5.6 percent, says the USDA in a new report: "Primarily, this import growth was a story about Mexico."

Analyst: look south for growth in U.S. pork exports

With sales to China waning, the growth markets for U.S. pork exports will be Mexico and Latin America, said economist Brett Stuart of Global AgriTrends. Mexico accounted for 22 cents of every $1 in pork exports last year, and eight Latin American nations, often regarded as lesser customers, are set to become major customers for U.S. pork.

Trump says he wants ‘a better deal’ with Cuba

President-elect Donald Trump says he will stop recent steps toward reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba unless the island makes "a better deal," says the Los Angeles Times. U.S. farm and food exports to Cuba flow under a 2000 law, separate from the executive orders used by President Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

Millions work under forced labor in the food chain, says report

The UN International Labor Organization estimates 3.5 million people around the world work in forced labor conditions in agriculture, including forestry and fishing, says Civil Eats in a story on slavery in the food chain. "This means that forced labor has played a role in the supply chains of many of the most popular food and drinks."

Biointensive farms in U.S. a model for smallholder farmers

Biointensive farming, which includes close plant spacing, use of seeds from plants that have been naturally pollinated and specific food-to-compost crop ratios, "produces far greater yields than conventional agriculture while using far less land and water," Ensia magazine reports, and is especially well-suited to small-scale farmers in Latin America and Africa looking for low-cost, low-tech solutions to grow food.

In Brazil, fighting obesity with familiar foods

In two generations, Brazil, like many of its neighbors, has gotten fat, says The Nation, and experts such as Carlos Monteiro, a nutrition professor, sees it in a diet teeming with processed and consumer-ready food. "Instant noodles, soda and processed meats are edging out staples like beans and rice, cassava, and fresh produce," writes Bridget Huber in "Slow Food Nation," produced in partnership with FERN.

Report: extreme hunger fell by half worldwide between 1990 and 2015

"Extreme poverty, child mortality, and hunger all fell by around half between 1990 and 2015," thanks to the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000, says the International Food Policy Research Institute in its 2016 Global Food Policy Report.

Colombia recovers from coffee rust fungus, others struggle

Colombia, the third-largest coffee grower in the world, will harvest 13 million bags of Arabica beans in the coming season, its largest crop in two decades.

Latin American plan to restore degraded farm and forest land

Eight countries in Latin America announced a project to restore 20 million hectares - 77,000 square miles - of degraded forest and farmland, says Reuters. The land would be used to store carbon in vegetation and cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

World coffee crop falls for second year in a row

Global coffee production is forecast for 149.8 million bags weighing 60 kg apiece, down for the second year in a row, says USDA in its semi-annual Coffee: World Markets and Trade report.

“Feed the Future” aids 7 million farmers

The "Feed the Future" program, which combines private sector and U.S. funding with local leadership to spur agricultural development overseas, "reached nearly 7 million smallholder farmers and helped to save 12.5 million children from the threat of hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in just the last year alone," says USAID, the parent agency.