, VI Conference of BRICS Initiative of Critical Agrarian Studies

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Food procurement in countries of intense agrarian conflicts: examples from South America
Estevan Coca

Last modified: 2018-12-14


This paper analyzes the implementation of public food procurement policies, where the food produced by family farmer and peasant agriculture is purchase by the state and then donated to low income people, in Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay as one of the characteristics of post-neoliberalism in South America. These countries are characterized by intense territorial disputes and contradictions between the agribusiness and family farmer/peasant agricultural development models, which we understand as conflictuality. The Brazilian experience that began in 2003 has become a reference for Ecuador and Paraguay as of 2015, when a technical cooperation agreement is signed between the Brazilian Federal Government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to reproduce the Brazilian public food procurement model in other countries of the Southern Hemisphere. We demonstrate how such experiences rupture, in part, with the control that large agri-food corporations exert in the food systems of Brazil, Ecuador, and Paraguay. This is because, at the same time that public food procurement has created a new market opportunity for family farmers and peasants, they have also functioned as a mechanism to combat hunger and promote democratized access to good food. Moreover, such initiatives can be understood as a possibility to re-spatialize food, by promoting closer contact between food producers and consumers.

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