Advertisement

Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 537–548 | Cite as

Local is not fair: indigenous peasant farmer preference for export markets

  • Rachel Soper
Article

Abstract

The food sovereignty movement calls for a reversal of the neoliberal globalization of food, toward an alternative development model that supports peasant production for local consumption. The movement holds an ambiguous stance on peasant production for export markets, and clearly prioritizes localized trade. Food sovereignty discourse often simplifies and romanticizes the peasantry—overlooking agrarian class categories and ignoring the interests of export-oriented peasants. Drawing on 8 months of participant observation in the Andean countryside and 85 interviews with indigenous peasant farmers, this paper finds that export markets are viewed as more fair than local markets. The indigenous peasants in this study prefer export trade because it offers a more stable and viable livelihood. Feeding the national population through local market intermediaries, by contrast, is perceived as unfair because of oversupply and low, fluctuating prices. This perspective, from the ground, offers important insight to movement actors and scholars who risk oversimplifying peasant values, interests, and actions.

Keywords

Food sovereignty Globalization Local markets Export agriculture Fair trade Peasants Indigenous Ecuador 

Abbreviations

FSM

Food sovereignty movement

UNCTAD

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

SPP

Símbolo de Pequeños Productores

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Jeff Haydu and Leon Zamosc for their feedback on this paper and guidance throughout the research process.

References

  1. Akram-Lodhi, A.H., and C. Kay. 2009. The Agrarian question: Peasants and rural change. In Peasants and globalization: Political economy, rural transformation and the agrarian question, ed. A.H. Akram-Lodhi, and C. Kay, 3–34. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bacon, C. 2005. Confronting the coffee crisis: Can fair trade, organic, and specialty coffee reduce small-scale farmer vulnerability in northern Nicaragua? World Development 33(3): 497–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, M. 2013. The stormy relations between Rafael Correa and social movements in Ecuador. Latin American Perspectives 40(1): 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernstein, H. 2014. Food sovereignty via the ‘peasant way’: A skeptical view. Journal of Peasant Studies 41(6): 1031–1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borras Jr, S.M., M. Edelman, and C. Kay. 2008. Transnational agrarian movements: Origins and politics, campaigns and impact. Journal of Agrarian Change 8(2): 169–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryceson, D. 2000. Peasant theories and smallholder policies: Past and present. In Disappearing peasantries? Rural labour in Africa, Asia and Latin America, ed. D. Bryceson, C. Kay, and J. Mooij, 1–36. London: Intermediate Technology.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burnett, K., and S. Murphy. 2014. What place for international trade in food sovereignty? Journal of Peasant Studies 41(6): 1065–1084.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cardoso, F.H., and E. Faletto. 1979. Dependency and development in Latin America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, P. 2015. Can the state foster food sovereignty? Insights from the case of Ecuador. Journal of Agrarian Change. doi: 10.1111/joac.12094.
  10. De Janvry, A. 1981. The agrarian question and reformism in Latin America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. De Schutter, O. 2014. Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. United National General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Sixteenth Session. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  12. Desmarais, A.A. 2008. The power of peasants: Reflections on the meanings of La Via Campesina. Journal of Rural Studies 24(2): 138–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edelman, M. 2005. Bringing the moral economy back in…to the study of the 21st-century transnational peasant movements. American Anthropologist 107(3): 331–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edelman, M., T. Weis, A. Baviskar, S.M. Borras Jr., E. Holt-Giménez, D. Kandiyoti, and W. Wolford. 2014. Introduction: Critical perspectives on food sovereignty. Journal of Peasant Studies 41(6): 911–931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Escobar, A. 1995. Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Finan, A. 2007. New markets, old struggles: Large and small farmers in the export agriculture of coastal Peru. Journal of Peasant Studies 34(2): 288–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fischer, E.F., and P. Benson. 2006. Broccoli and desire: Global connections and Maya struggles in postwar Guatemala. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fitting, E. 2011. The struggle for maize: Campesinos, workers, and transgenic corn in the Mexican countryside. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Frank, A.G. 1978. Dependent accumulation and underdevelopment. London: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Giunta, I. 2013. Food sovereignty in Ecuador: The gap between the constitutionalization of the principles and their materialization in the official agri-food strategies. In Paper presented at the international conference in Food sovereignty: A critical dialogue, September 14–15, Yale University, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  21. GRAIN. 2013. Yet another UN report calls for support to peasant farming and agroecology: It’s time for action. Media release 23 September. http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4789-yet-another-un-report-calls-for-support-to-peasant-farming-and-agroecology-it-s-time-for-action. (Accessed 10 June 2015).
  22. Jaffee, D. 2007. Brewing justice: Fair trade coffee, sustainability, and survival. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Jarosz, L. 2011. Defining world hunger: Scale and neoliberal ideology in international food security. Food, Culture & Society 14(1): 117–139.Google Scholar
  24. Korovkin, T. 1997. Indigenous peasant struggles and the capitalist modernization of agriculture: Chimborazo, 1965–1991. Latin American Perspectives 24(3): 25–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lawrence, G., and P. McMichael. 2012. The question of food security. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 19(2): 135–142.Google Scholar
  26. Masakure, O., and S. Henson. 2005. Small-scale producers choose to produce under contract? Lessons from nontraditional vegetable exports from Zimbabwe. World Development 33(10): 1721–1733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McMichael, P. 2009. A food regime genealogy. Journal of Peasant Studies 36(1): 139–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McMichael, P. 2011. Development and social change: A global perspective, 5/e. Thousand Oak, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. McMichael, P. 2014. Historicizing food sovereignty. Journal of Peasant Studies 41(6): 933–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Republic of Ecuador. 2008. Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador. Georgetown University: Political Database of the Americas. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html. Accessed 10 June 2015.
  31. Rossett, P. 2000. The multiple functions and benefits of small farm agriculture in the context of global trade negotiations. Development 43(2): 77–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 2013. Trade and environment review 2013: Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate. Geneva: United Nations. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf (Accessed 10 June 2015).
  33. Van der Ploeg, J.D. 2014. Peasant-driven agricultural growth and food sovereignty. Journal of Peasant Studies 41(6): 999–1030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Campesina, Via. 2007. The international peasant’s voice. Jakarta: La Via Campesina.Google Scholar
  35. Campesina, Via. 2014. La Via Campesina 2013 annual report. Harare: La Via Campesina.Google Scholar
  36. Walsh-Dilley, M. 2013. Negotiating hybridity in highland Bolivia: Indigenous moral economy and the expanding market for quinoa. Journal of Peasant Studies 40(4): 659–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations