Garibay, Salvador V. and Ugas, Roberto (2010) Organic Farming in Latin America and the Caribbean. In: Willer, Helga and Kilcher, Lukas (Eds.) The World of Organic Agriculture - Statistics and Emerging Trends 2010. FiBL and IFOAM, Frick and Bonn, chapter 10, pp. 160-172.
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In Latin America, 260’000 producers managed 8.1 million hectares of agricultural land organically in 2008. This constitutes 23 percent of the world’s organic land. The leading countries are Argentina (4 million hectares), Brazil (1.8 million hectares), and Uruguay (930'965 hectares). The highest shares of organic agricultural land are in the Dominican Republic and Uruguay with more than six percent and in Argentina with three percent. Most organic products from Latin American countries (90 percent) are sold on the European, North American or Japanese markets. Popular goods are especially those that cannot be produced in these regions, as well as off-season products. Thus, the development of robust local markets is still a major challenge, without which the sustainability of organic production cannot be achieved. Important crops are tropical fruits, grains and cereals, coffee, cocoa, sugar, and meats. Most organic food sales in the domestic markets of the countries occur in major cities, such as Buenos Aires and São Paulo. Eighteen countries have legislation on organic farming, and three additional countries are currently developing organic regulations. Costa Rica and Argentina have both attained Third Country status according to the EU regulation on organic farming. The types of support in Latin American countries range from organic agriculture promotion programs to market access support by export agencies. In a few countries, limited financial support is being given to pay certification costs during the conversion period. An important process underway in many Latin America countries is the establishment of regulations and standards for the organic sector.
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