The tides of Colombia’s agricultural sector, which for years lagged behind neighboring countries due to landownership restrictions and underdeveloped transport infrastructure, have fast been changing. As of early 2016, several key reforms and progressive measures were beginning to allow investment to flow to the Colombian countryside. The sector expanded by 3% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2015, and accounted for 6% of GDP. In 2016 a proposed peace deal with the FARC offers hope of a safer countryside and increased government emphasis on rural development. In late 2015 the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced funding to boost domestic production of key crops and a land reform law that would open the door to large-scale agribusiness. With new roads and ports to link Colombia’s interior to domestic and export markets, 2016 looks set to be a turning point for the agriculture sector, and a year in which an integrated agricultural policy begins to take shape.
This chapter includes an interview with Rafael Mejía López, President, Colombian Agriculture Association (SAC).