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Latin America’s food paradox


Daniel Cossío

Latin American farms and fields produce a lot of food, but 47 million people still remain hungry.
The region accounts for about a quarter of global exports in agricultural and fisheries products, including fruits and vegetables, salmon, maize, sugar and coffee. The agricultural sector is crucial for Latin American livelihoods, contributing to an average of 4.7% of GDP and employing at least 14% of the region’s population.
But paradoxically, the number of undernourished people in the region keeps growing year after year, increasing by around 13 million people over the past five years. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that by 2030, “hunger will affect 67 million people in the region, a figure that does not take into account repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
One major culprit: food waste. More than a third of the food produced each year around the globe is lost or wasted, and Latin America and the Caribbean are no exception. With a different and enhanced distribution chain, that amount of wasted food could be enough to nourish up to 2 billion people globally.
Here’s the rub: If we want to successfully address malnutrition in Latin America, agritech and food tech solutions need to come from within. Not just because Latin America has enormous natural wealth, but because almost every Latin American has experienced …

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