LAC Occasional Paper Series

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The LCSSD Occasional Paper Series is a publication of the Sustainable Development Department (LCSSD) in the World Bank’s Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The papers in this series are the result of economic and technical research conducted by members of the LCSSD community. The series addresses issues that are relevant to the region’s environmental and social sustainability; water, urban, energy and transport sector development; agriculture, forestry and rural development; as well as cross-cutting topics related to sustainable development such as climate change; logistics; crime and violence; and spatial economics. While all papers in this series are peer reviewed and cleared by the LCSSD Economics Unit on behalf of the Director of LCSSD, the findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper, as in all publications of the LCSSD Occasional Paper Series, are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank, to its affiliated organizations or to members of its Board of Executive Directors or the countries they represent. The World Bank does not garantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use.

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Improving Agricultural Productivity and Market Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean : How ICTs Can Make a Difference?

2012-03, Goyal, Aparajita

Agricultural growth rates in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region have been much slower than the rest of the developing world. In the regions of East Asia, South Asia and Middle East and North Africa, the annual growth of agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1980-2004 exceeded 3 percent, while growth in Sub- Saharan Africa averaged almost 3 percent. This paper attempts to present an overview of the agricultural sector in LAC, discuss its distinctive features, and the potential role of Information and Communication Technology's (ICTs) in improving agricultural productivity and market efficiency in this region. The discussion in this paper will refer to the evidence provided by studies that evaluate the impact of ICTs interventions. While the emphasis will be put on the studies that evaluate interventions in the LAC region, there will also be references to studies in other developing economies whenever these are pertinent to the LAC context. The commercialization of agricultural products has suffered important transformations in recent decades, posing big challenges for farmers in the LAC region. Finally, the adoption of agricultural technologies will also be constrained by insecure land rights. Investing in technologies with long-run returns will not be attractive if farmers are uncertain about their property rights in the future (Jack, 2011). This is certainly an issue in several countries in LAC, where land conflicts, expropriation and de facto ownership are common.

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Logistics, Transport and Food Prices in LAC : Policy Guidance for Improving Efficiency and Reducing Costs

2009-08, Schwartz, Jordan, Guasch, Jose Luis, Wilmsmeier, Gordon, Stokenberga, Aiga

This introductory section explains the rationale for the guidance note, reflecting on the relevance of food prices in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), their impact on the poor and the effect that logistics and transport costs have on those prices. Based upon that framework, the note provides an overview of the logistics and transport hurdles faced by importers and consumers in the region as food products move through the logistics chain. The final section of the report provides some policy guidance that could improve the efficiency of logistics systems in LAC and reduce the price of delivered foods.