, VI Conference of BRICS Initiative of Critical Agrarian Studies

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Building Autonomous Territorialities in Rural Agrarian Reform Settlements: The Case of Agroecological Rice in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Camila Ferracini Origuéla, Bernardo Mançano Fernandes

Last modified: 2018-12-13


In a context of subordination and marginalization engendered by the territorialization of agribusiness in the countryside, peasants resist and build alternatives based on the uses of their territories, breaking with relations of subjection to capital. The alternatives are in different dimensions and scales of the peasant territories, in techniques and technologies, in the forms of social and political organization, in education, in access to institutional markets and in the construction of popular markets. However, little is known about the territorial dynamics of these experiences. In what context and how they are builded. How important is the territory and it's use. To answer these questions, this paper analyzes the cultivation, agroindustrialization, and commercialization of agroecological rice in rural agrarian reform settlements in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The state is the largest rice producer in the country, standing out the cultivation based on the intense use of improved seeds, machinery and chemical inputs. Many peasants replicate this model in their territories, distancing themselves from local and regional ecosystems and agri-food systems, subordinating themselves to industrial, commercial and financial capital. As subordination is not a linear process, peasants struggle to break it by building actions, relationships and practices in their territories, organizing themselves into networks. The experience of agroecological rice, developed by the peasants who are part of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), demonstrates the resistance, creativity and resilience of the peasantry in the struggles against capital. This is because, in this experiment, they have autonomy in practically the whole productive process, from the seeds to the commercialization of rice. It is the peasants who decide together what and how to produce and where to sell, building what we call autonomous territorialities. In order to analyze the experience of agroecological rice, the paradigmatic debate between agrarian question and agrarian capitalism was analyzed, understanding how the territory and it's use is an asset in the resistance and autonomy of the peasantry in difficult contexts for it's social reproduction.


Questão agrária; campesinato; território; agroecologia; territorialidades autônomas