Last year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) along with the Colombian government launched a partnership in order to develop the Colombian countryside through agriculture, during and after the implementation of the Peace Accords. The main goals of this momentous partnership is the identification of key sectors, crops, and specific industries with high development potential within the Colombian countryside. Similarly, the partnership seeks to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources between international organizations and Colombian farmers. The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to eradicate illicit crop cultivation throughout the rural areas of Colombia as well as facilitate the entry of foreign investment and collaboration between small farmers and large companies in the agriculture sector.
Agricultural Partnership and Development in Colombia
Because of its biodiversity and natural resources, Colombia is one of the countries in the world with most potential in terms of agricultural production. A substantial increase in Colombia’s output of food, animal feed, and biofuel sources would lead to domestic growth and help reduce socioeconomic inequalities in the country. Therefore, with presidential elections just two months away, 2018 will be an exciting and dynamic year for Colombia as the government prepares a new national development program alongside the ongoing implementation of the Peace Accords. Furthermore, the Colombian government has set in place legislation that will facilitate the purchase of fields and terrains for agricultural development.
Simultaneously, during 2017, Colombia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.8%, which was higher than the Latin American average. This means that, throughout the last decade, many Colombians have managed to leave poverty and join the low and middle-income classes. Therefore, the aggregate demand for quality food in Colombia continues to grow and the country remains a net importer of many agricultural products. This dynamic provides opportunities for both local producers seeking to expand their operations and foreign importers of competitive foodstuffs.
Today in Colombia, unfortunately, about 3.4 million people suffer from undernourishment. Likewise, in recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin in the country has been 33 grams daily. Moreover, 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 1.44 million hectares. More recently, by 2015, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to more than 41 million hectares, while arable land represented almost 1.7 million hectares and permanent crops covered little over 1.9 million hectares. Meanwhile, in 1961, the cereals market in Colombia utilized close to 1.2 million hectares of land and yielded some 1.5 million metric tons annually. Finally, in 2016, the country devoted 910.633 hectares of land to cereals production and yielded 3.82 million metric tons.