Reducing rates of deforestation in the tropics is a complex puzzle, and we appear to be missing a few of its pieces, considering deforestation continues to progress at an unsustainable rate. Strategies to reduce deforestation have long recognized the importance of industrial agriculture oriented toward consumption at the global scale. As a result, globally consumed export commodities are flagged as key drivers of deforestation, leading to the proliferation of global initiatives, voluntary zero-deforestation agreements, and certifications and incentives at the international level. While important, agricultural exports globally account for slightly less than 20% of total production, with domestic consumption making up the balance, which leads us to believe that one piece of the puzzle is likely linked with small and medium agriculture production and shifting domestic consumption patterns.
Across Latin America, diets have changed significantly over the past decades as economies and incomes increased and consumers sought convenient foods better suited to their modern lifestyles (Quintero-Lesmes & Herran, 2019). Countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru follow these same trends with increasing shifts towards processed foods, which is reflected in changing production systems – often those located at the agricultural frontier.