Food policy in Latin America: a new book takes stock

Just out 16 February 2022
Ten countries are under the spotlight in this book on food policy and food systems in Latin America. The Spanish version came out in 2021, and the English version will be presented on 2 March at the Paris International Agricultural Show. The book will be available as of 10 March.
Market in Mexico © Catia Grisa
Market in Mexico © Catia Grisa

Fruit stall on a market in Mexico © Catia Grisa

"To Europeans, Latin America is both familiar and very different in terms of food policy", says Jean-François Le Coq, a CIRAD researcher and co-author of the book. "While malnutrition issues have largely been resolved, the continent is now facing an obesity crisis. As in Europe, demand for healthy products is growing. Urbanization rates are similar, and short supply circuit initiatives are flourishing in cities. Where Latin America differs is in terms of social inequality, which is currently greater than in Europe."

By looking at the topic from a historical, regional and national angle, followed by analyses of recent changes and challenges on the continent in terms of food policy, the book gives an overview of current trends in Latin America. The focus is on policy in ten countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay.

The book has five parts. The first looks at food policy in the region. The second contains a history of national food policies. The third examines recent national policy changes. The fourth explores innovative local actions and policies in both rural territories and towns, while the fifth focuses on the challenges of rolling out food policy aimed at building sustainable food systems.

While the book highlights the generally positive local initiatives and trends, it also reveals competition between different production models, inequalities in terms of land ownership, and marked issues concerning coordination between field players and State services. 

Its forty or so authors hope to contribute to the debate on and renewal of public policy in favour of more sustainable, more inclusive food systems that allow for local specificities.

You can meet the authors at the Paris International Agricultural Show, where they will be presenting their work and the prospects to be explored, on 2 March from 11:45 onwards, on the CIRAD-AFD stand (Hall 4, aisle D, stand 109).

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Public policies and food systems in Latin America
Coordinators: Jean-François Le Coq, Catia Grisa, Stéphane Guéneau, Paulo Niederle
Editions Quae
445 p.
Due out on 10 March

About the authors
  • Jean-François Le Coq is an agricultural economist at CIRAD and coordinator of the Public Policy and Rural Development in Latin America platform (PP-AL). He specializes in public policy on agriculture and rural development in Latin America, and is based at the Bioversity Alliance and CIAT in Cali, Colombia. 
  • Catia Grisa is a professor specializing in public agrifood policy at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Her research centres on family farming, rural development and public policy.
  • Stéphane Guéneau is a socioeconomist at CIRAD. He worked in Brazil for seven years, firstly at the University of Brasilia's centre for sustainable development and then at the Federal University of Maranhão. His research covers quality and sustainability certification within food supply chains and agrifood policy analyses. 
  • Paulo Niederle is a researcher at the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development. He teaches economic sociology and rural development at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). His research encompasses alternative food markets, agroecology and public food policy.
Focus on three books on food

Three books will be presented on the CIRAD-AFD stand on 2 March:

Une écologie de l’alimentation (Editions Quae), a book marking the anniversary of the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems, presented by Damien Conaré at 11:00

Méthodes d’investigation de l’alimentation et des mangeurs (Editions Quae), a collective work describing ways of studying food consumers and their diet, presented by Nicolas Bricas at 11:20

Public policies and food systems in Latin America (Editions Quae), presented by Jean-François Le Coq and Sandrine Fréguin at 11:45

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