Food security and livestock: The case of Latin America and the Caribbean
The main hurdle to achieving food security in Latin America and the Caribbean is the inability of many poor families to access the foods necessary for a healthy diet, in a context in which food prices and family incomes are fundamental determinants. Animal husbandry plays a key role in the food security of the region, providing products rich in high-quality proteins and micronutrients and is vital for millions of households that depend on livestock for their livelihoods to generate income and have access to basic services. Furthermore, the production and trade of livestock products contributes to the stabilization of the food supply, acting as a buffer during economic crises and disasters both at the individual and community levels. Small farm agriculture is especially important in this scenario, given that most of the production of foods of animal origin depends on this sector and that the majority of the 47 million people who suffer from hunger in our continent live in rural areas. In this complex scenario, a good understanding of the interrelations between food security and the livestock sector, both at the national and household level, is fundamental for the design and implementation of policies that strengthen family livestock production as an essential pillar in regional food security.