Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 473–488 | Cite as

Reverse leasing and power dynamics among blue agave farmers in western Mexico

  • Sarah BowenEmail author
  • Peter R. W. Gerritsen


We examine changing production relations in the Mexican tequila industry to explore the ways in which large industrial firms are using “reverse leasing arrangements,” a form of contract farming, to extend their control over small agave farmers. Under these arrangements, smallholders rent their parcels to contracting companies who bring in capital, machinery, labor, and other agricultural inputs. Smallholders do not have access to their land, nor do they make any of the management decisions. We analyze the factors that have led some producers to participate in reverse leasing arrangements, while allowing other producers to continue farming independently. In addition, we look at the ways in which farmers are responding to these new production relations and constraints and the strategies that they are using to regain control over the production process.


Small farms Reverse leasing Contract farming Tequila Blue agave Mexico Latin America 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Rural Sociology and SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Manantlán Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation, South Coast University CentreUniversity of GuadalajaraAutlánMexico

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