The agricultural exports of the Latin American countries grew 8.5% in value during April in their year-on-year comparison and it is expected that in May the growing trend will continue, in a framework where the total exports of the region fell by 29.9%.

“Agricultural exports from 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean increased in dollars by 8.5% year-on-year in April, within the framework of a deep drop of 29.9% in total external sales,” remarked the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA).

Meanwhile, he stressed that “preliminary data from May ratify this trend, indicating that the production and trade of agricultural goods will be one of the engines of economic recovery in the region”.

The countries considered for the statistic were Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

In May, according to preliminary data available from seven countries, the trend compared to the previous month was maintained, with an increase in agricultural exports of 11.1%, while that of total goods decreased by 15.7%.
The countries that registered the greatest increase in their agricultural exports in April were Brazil (28.9%), Costa Rica (8.2%), Argentina (4.95%), Bolivia (4.9%) and Guatemala (4.7%), while agricultural exports of Peru and Uruguay fell significantly, contracting 41.7% and 16.8%, respectively.

The products whose exports registered the greatest increase in April were soybeans, sugar, beef and pork in the Mercosur countries, which benefited from Chinese demand.
“In May, despite the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth of agricultural exports was positive for Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Argentina; and negative for El Salvador, Chile and Guatemala”, the specialist of the Strategic Analysis Center for Agriculture (Caespa) of IICA, Joaquín Arias, said.

At the other extreme, El Salvador’s agricultural exports fell by 38.8%, while in total, considering all goods, the fall was 60.5%. Paraguay, on the other hand, increased agricultural exports by 6.4%, while total sales fell 1.7%.

For Daniel Rodriguez, manager of IICA’s International Trade and Regional Integration Program, the behavior of agricultural exports in the first months of the pandemic confirms the important role that Latin America and the Caribbean plays in the availability of safe and nutritious food, not only for the region, but globally.

“They place the agricultural sector in a privileged position in the generation of foreign exchange to finance socioeconomic recovery projects, as well as in the promotion of income for producers and companies, and of jobs for rural and urban residents, favoring access to food”, he, said.