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The impossible and necessary coexistence of agricultural development models in the Pampas: the case of Santa Fe province (Argentina)


This article’s objective is to highlight the different forms of agriculture present in the Argentinian Pampas, to analyse their logics, in particular in their relationships to the territory, and to discuss the relationships they have with each other. The theoretical framework adopted is that of “territorial pacts”. This framework makes it possible to define for each form of agriculture through three dimensions of its local integration into the territory (territorial mediation) and through four dimensions of its integration into institutions (agricultural development model). This theoretical framework was taught and put into practice by a team of 7 or 8 researchers and teacher-researchers and 80 fifth-year students of agronomy within the framework of a 1-week study trip repeated in three consecutive years in Santa Fe province. This is an interesting province for studying this subject because of the historical importance of family farming and the growth of large business farms. The method includes analyses of the agronomist’s skills and reflections with students. Three agricultural development models could be distinguished and analysed: business farming, small-scale family farming and conventional farming. These models highlight the roles of technicians, cities, markets, symbolic issues and personal projects. In conclusion, it appears that relationships between these different models are more along the lines of a co-presence and not of a coexistence. The latter would require the construction of a local public space and a profound change in the models’ current strategies. Nevertheless, a plural conception—and one that is open to dialogue—of the study programmes of the university faculties of agronomy could be a first step towards coexistence, since it appears that these faculties are at the centre of the tensions arising from co-presence.

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  1. CREA: Consorcios Regionales de Experimentación Agropecuaria (Regional Consortia for Agricultural Experimentation), development groups inspired by Consortia for Agricultural Technology Experimentation (CETA) in France.

  2. We applied the structural analysis of the narrative to the most complete interviews of the other models, too, which allowed us to confirm that the theoretical model accounts well for the actors’ thought systems.

  3. We use this term because we are dealing not only with a long process of accumulation of heterogeneous techniques, but also of their transformation over time, especially under the pressure of the advent and accumulation of new objects and techniques.

  4. AAPRESID, Argentine Association of Direct Sowing Producers, the most passionate defender of the use of GMOs and glyphosate.

  5. In 2017, organic farming in Argentina accounted for 47% of all organic production in Latin America, covering more than 3 million hectares, but cultivated by only 1000 large farms (, in French).

  6. FAA, Argentine Agrarian Federation, union of small (mainly Pampean) farmers.



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The research was funded by the National University of La Plata (UNLP), Faculty of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (Argentina), Taller de Integración Curricular, UNLP SeCyT Project A329 and INRAE’s AgriteRRIs International Research Network (France).

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Correspondence to Christophe Albaladejo.

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Albaladejo, C. The impossible and necessary coexistence of agricultural development models in the Pampas: the case of Santa Fe province (Argentina). Rev Agric Food Environ Stud 101, 213–240 (2020).

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