The Republic of Panama has a total territory of 75.420 square kilometers, which is somewhat smaller than South Carolina. Geographically, Panama is an isthmus bridging Central and South America, which consists mainly of coastal plains, rolling hills, and a mountainous interior. Furthermore, Panama has 2.490 kilometers of coastline and a 77-kilometer long canal. Similarly, the country has a tropical maritime climate, characterized by heat, humidity, and seasonal rains. Currently, Panama has a total population of almost 3.8 million citizens with an average age of 29 years. Likewise, about 67% of the Panamanian population lives in an urban setting, notably the capital Panama City with its 1.7 million inhabitants. In economic terms, the country has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$99 billion (PPP), which is divided into approximately 4% agriculture, 18% manufacturing, and 78% services. Simultaneously, Panama has experienced economic growth over 4.9% throughout the last three years. Moreover, it is estimated that the agricultural industry employs 17% of the national labor force, while manufacturing employs 19% and services employ another 64%. Furthermore, in Panama, the agriculture industry utilizes 31% of the national territory, while another 43% is forested.

Agribusiness and Trade in Panama’s Economy

In terms of trade, Panama is the sixty-eighth export economy in the world and has numerous free trade agreements (FTAs), including with the United States. During 2016, the country imported US$9.1 billion worth of goods and exported US$9.9 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$801 million. Moreover, Panama’s main export, representing 15% or US$1.5 billion of the country’s total in 2016, were packaged medicaments. Similarly, the country’s main import that same year, representing 14% or US$1.3 billion of all international purchases, were also packaged medicaments. As it relates to animal products, Panama exported almost US$62 million worth of crustaceans and imported some US$1.2 million in concentrated milk during 2016. Meanwhile, Panama’s main trading partners are the United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, Singapore, and Venezuela.

Unfortunately, in Panama, some 400.000 people suffer from undernourishment. Furthermore, in recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the country’s population has been 41 grams daily. Meanwhile, land distribution and productivity in Panama has evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in the country covered almost 1.1 million hectares, while arable land covered 438.000 hectares and permanent crops accounted for 126.000 hectares. More recently, in 2015, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to account for little over 1.5 million hectares, while arable land represented 563.000 hectares and permanent crops covered approximately 185.000 hectares. Lastly, in 1961, the cereals market in Panama utilized 192.200 hectares of land and yielded some 182.887 metric tons annually. Meanwhile, in 2016, the country devoted 165.387 hectares of land to cereals production and yielded approximately 425.000 metric tons.

(Read more about Risk Planning and Contingency Management in Latin America)

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