June 19th, 2017

Exports, Imports, and Land Distribution in Colombia

Land distribution, agricultural output, and international trade in Colombia are key issues relating to social and economic development. This article explores the current composition of Colombian imports and exports as well as the country’s evolving land distribution.

Exports, Imports, and Land Distribution in Colombia

Colombia is the 53rd largest export economy in the world as well as the 58th most complex economy according to MIT’s Economic Complexity Index. During the year 2015, Colombia exported a total of US$37.5 billion and imported US$51.7 billion, leading to an overall trade deficit of US$14.2 billion. That same year, mineral products, such as coal and petroleum, represented 53% or US$19.9 billion of Colombia’s total exports. After mineral products, Colombia’s largest export during 2015 were vegetable products, such as coffee, flowers, and bananas, accounting for 14% or US$5.2 billion. The country’s third largest exports, at 6.1% or US$2.3 billion, were chemical products, including pesticides, medicines, and perfumes. The majority of Colombia’s export products in 2015 were destined for the United States, which purchased 28% or US$10.4 billion of the country’s international sales, followed by Panama at 6.4% or US$2.4 billion. As a whole, Europe purchased 22% or US$8.2 billion of Colombia’s exports in 2015, while China purchased another 6.1% or US$2.3 billion.

On the side of imports, Colombia’s largest international purchases in 2015 consisted of machinery, such as centrifuges, telephones, and computers, which accounted 24% or US$12.6 billion. Meanwhile, the country’s second largest imports were chemical products, such as medicine, fertilizers, and hair products, totaling 15% or US$7.7 billion. Simultaneously, Colombia’s third largest import in 2015 consisted of transportation equipment, such as cars, planes, and helicopters, totaling 13% or US$6.5 billion. That same year, 30% or US$15.4 billion of the country’s imports came from the United States, while another 19% or US$9.8 billion came from China. Also in 2015, Colombia purchased 18% or US$9.3 billion from Europe as well as 11% or US$5.9 billion from neighboring South American nations.

Today in Colombia, unfortunately, about 4.4 million people suffer from undernourishment. Likewise, in recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin in the country has been 32 grams daily. Meanwhile, cereals, roots, and tubers supply 35% of the average food energy intake in Colombia. Simultaneously, land distribution and output in the country has evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in Colombia covered 35 million hectares, while arable land covered little over 3.5 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for almost 1.5 million hectares. More recently, by 2014, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to more than 41 million hectares, while arable land represented some 1.7 million hectares and permanent crops covered approximately 1.9 million hectares. Meanwhile, in 1961, the cereals market in Colombia utilized almost 1.2 million hectares of land and yielded some 1.5 million metric tons annually. Finally, in 2014, the country devoted approximately 1 million hectares of land to cereals production and yielded over 4 million metric tons.

(Read more about Senegal’s Agricultural and Economic Outlook)