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Yet the region still faces many challenges to achieve sustainable growth in agricultural, animal protein, dairy or intensive crops’ production.

Climate change is the most overwhelming of these. The region’s farmers are already seeing some of the effects, in the form of changing rainfall and temperature patterns, more intense storms, decreasing soil humidity and crop blights.

Lack of sufficient technology, training and financing can also stand in the way of productive, efficient and sustainable agribusiness operations. Gaps in rural infrastructure and policies that inhibit trade are among other negative factors in some countries.

Solving these issues will be challenging and will require major investment by both the public and private sector. This is critical to regional and global food security and critical to rural development.

Poverty remains stubbornly high in rural areas. A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean found that the average rural poverty rate for 18 countries in the region was nearly 49 percent in 2016, compared with an urban poverty rate of 27 percent. Extreme poverty was three times higher in rural areas than in cities.

With the right combination of policies, innovation and investment, the agribusiness sector can not only do well but do good, by helping to create jobs and ease rural poverty.