In this paper I address the general perception that agricultural activities are the principal threat to primate biodiversity in the tropics and argue that in Neotropical landscapes some agricultural practices may favor primate population persistence, and that this situation merits attention and investigation. To explore these issues, I examined three interrelated pressures upon tropical forests for the Mesoamerican and Amazon basin regions: human population growth trends, levels of poverty and human development and deforestation rates. I also present relevant results of recent surveys completed on the presence and activities of primate populations in agroecosystems in several landscapes in Mesoamerica. I further assess the possible benefits of primates to agroecosystems, and stress the value for primate conservation of some agricultural practices in the Neotropics.