Embracing agriculture to achieve productive diversification

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May 2023
There is no doubt that agriculture plays a significant role in the economic and social development of Andean countries due to its socioeconomic importance, food security, and its potential to contribute to more inclusive and sustainable growth. It's an age-old activity that has shaped the way of life of Andean communities and continues to determine their future. Despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has shown its resilience and potential to contribute to the economy.
This sector currently offers a range of opportunities for productive diversification, social inclusion, and achieving climate goals. As outlined in this book, this is possible through inclusive and environmentally friendly production schemes that help reduce carbon emissions from this sector. This involves addressing issues such as rapid deforestation and efficient use of water resources while generating socio-economic and environmental benefits that outweigh the costs.
Realizing these benefits requires addressing long-standing structural challenges related to the sector's low productivity, bottlenecks such as limited multimodal infrastructure support, institutional aspects, adjusting priorities and action timelines in response to the threat of climate change, and promoting gender equity and women's empowerment in agriculture. Throughout the book, opportunities are presented to increase the inclusion of women farmers and contribute to their empowerment and development, mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, including essential crops, promote productive diversification, and position Andean agricultural offerings in niche and high-value markets, including superfoods, the forestry sector, and Agtech.
Connecting the agricultural sector with new economic opportunities is a major goal of public policies in the countries of the region. In this regard, there is an opportunity in Andean countries to develop value chains that offer multiple advantages, including improving sector productivity, creating jobs, boosting the export sector, impacting the balance of payments, and generating prosperity, well-being, and quality of life for the population, especially in rural areas. Betting on agriculture is a win-win strategy. It's time to take action and realize the benefits for everyone.