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Organic agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean 2012

In Latin America, more than 270’000 producers managed 8.4 million hectares of agricultural land organically in 2010. This constitutes 23 percent of the world’s organic land and 1.4 percent of the region’s agricultural land.

The leading countries are Argentina (4.2 million hectares), Brazil (1.8 million hectares), and Uruguay (0.9 million hectares).

The highest shares of organic agricultural land are in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas (35.9 percent), the Dominican Republic (8.5 percent), and French Guyana (7.8 percent).

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, organic production is mostly export-oriented. On average, 85 percent of what is produced organically is exported to the main organic markets, such as the European Union, the United States, and Japan. For countries with tropical and mountain ecosystems, the main organic export products are coffee, cacao,
banana, and quinoa. For countries with extensive land areas with pastures for animal grazing, the main products are meat and wool. Wild collection of nuts is also of significant importance for international markets. Argentina and Costa Rica are the only two countries in the region with third country status for the European Union.

In the past decade, initiatives coming mostly from civil society (producer organizations and NGOs) and local governments, contributed to the development of domestic markets, which are increasing in size. The participation of governments in the organic sector has been focused on control and regulatory issues. This is seen in the many organic regulations the region has. The organic movement expects a more effective and clear participation of governments through public policies to foster and develop organic agriculture not only for export-oriented operators, but also for the domestic organic market and family farmers.


FiBL and IFOAM (2012): The World of Organic Agriculture 2012. Frick and Bonn

Articles about Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2012 edition of "The World of Organic Agriculture"

  • Organic Farming in Latin America and the Caribbean by Patricia Flores Escudero
  • Peru: The Market for Organic Products by F. Javier Martinez