Public agricultural research in Latin America and the Caribbean

Investment and capacity trends

In 2006, LAC as a whole employed more than 19,000 FTE researchers in agriculture and invested $3.0 billion in agricultural R&D (in 2005 constant prices), which corresponds to 1.14 percent of the region’s total agricultural output. Nevertheless, 70 percent of this total was spent by just three countries: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Were these “big three” countries excluded, the region’s agricultural R&D investments as a percentage of AgGDP would be substantially lower (0.72 percent). Regionwide investments grew by 1.1 percent per year during 1981–2006, but this average masks significant differences over time and among countries. During 1996–2006, agricultural research spending in countries like Argentina, Costa Rica, and Uruguay rose markedly, whereas expenditures in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay contracted. Brazil, the region’s largest country, also experienced a modest decline in its agricultural R&D investments since the mid-1990s largely due to reduced spending by the country’s state government agencies in recent years.

Stads, Gert-Jan
Beintema, Nienke
Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
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