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Transcript of FOOD
- G.Pechlaner, G.Otero (2010)
2. Food Regime Perspective
3.2 Comparison (USA, Canada and Mexico)
4. Impacts on Mexico
- importance for subsistence and internatioal trade
- can´t be separated from social considerations!
-> "food vulnerability" vs. "food security"
- trade liberalization in agricultural sector is highly contentious
- several meetings fail to achieve an overall
Food Regime Perspective
(Harriet Friedmann and Philip McMichael)
1. "Settler-Colonial" regime (1870-1914) British Hegemony
2. "post-WW II" (1945-1973) US Hegemony, "Surplus" regime
3. "Neoliberal Food Regime"
- corporate-friendly international regulatory regime
- less state autonomy
- genetic engineering (GE) as key technology
- extend of existing inequalities between states
2 systems emerging in tension of the formation of a 3rd regime:
1. comprising fresh, relatively unprocessed food, often with specific social criteria and overseen by private standards, for rich consumers
2. highly engineered and "denatured" edible commodities, overseen by public and (increasingly lowered) transnational regulations, for poor consumers
- theoretical rather than empirical
- macro-focused --> nation-state is central stage
- downplay role of social resistance
- reducing trade barriers
- expanding markets
- facilitating economic stability
--> consistend with global trade-liberalization trends
Bringing the "Moral Charge" Home: Fair Trade within the North and within the South
- Jaffee, Kloppenburg Jr and Monroy (2004)
*data from 2006, Source: G.Pechlaner,G.Otero (2010)
Impacts on Mexico
2003: most products became liberalized
shift to high-valued fruits and vegetables
2. Historical Abstract
3. North-North Initiatives
3.1 Example I (Red Tomato)
3.2 Example II (UFW Apple)
4. South-South Initiatives
4.1 Example I (Comercio Justo)
4.2 Example II (FT-Tortillerias)
dependent on US
-> importing most critical foodstuff
vulnerable to price fluctuations
benefits from overall grown exports ?
- 32,00 firms in food industry
- only 1,692 engage in exports
-only 300 firms account for 80% of all exports
"Alternative market system that aims to right the historically inequitable terms of trade between geopolitical North and South"
Links 3rd-World producers more directly with consumers in industrialized nations
consumer food prices doubled
labor force decreased
US grain invasion causes:
- bankruptcy of Mexican peasants
- main contributor to international labor migration
- 2000-2005 = >2 million people
left the country
(most to USA)
- lost "labor sovereignty"
to date mostly linking producers of primary commodities (coffee, bananas, cocoa, tea)
increased food vulnerability and dependence
Raynolds sees "progressive new consumer/producer links" (2001) in many sustainable food initiatives within the US and within the global South
Fair Trade not necessarily far trade
Raynolds and authors
Goodman & Goodman (pessimistic)
- driving forces of the neoliberal food regime:
1. neoregulation 2. corporate-driven biotechnology
- Fair Trade may mount a fundamental challenge to the agro-food system
- Worldwide sales in 2001 $235 million, benefiting 800.000 families, already important market share in some western nations
- privileged position of farmers in contrast to waged labour
- accessibility of FT-products to low income consumers
- robustness and character of the ethical linkages
- extent to which such linkages can become the basis for a challenge to the conventional agro-food system
- not clear how FT as currently constituted can become more than a marginal alternative
- capitalized agricultural entrepreneurs (U.S.)
- U.S. consumers (?)
- Mexican peasants
- state autonomy
- international solidarity and transnational mobilization
- ! bottom-up resistance in nation-states !
"The consolidation of alternatives rests completely on what is happening at the local level, it depends on the development of organizations in their [peasants´] regions, in their countries". (Guerrero, Mexican peasant)
Question for Discussion:
1. Are consumers really powerless against food industry or can they (re)shape the "neoliberal food regime"?
Focus in 60s, 70s & 80s on "unequal exchange" of international terms of trade
Birth of many "alternative trade organisations" (ATOs)
"OneWorld"-Shops which sell products from small or poor producers in 3rd-World countries, who:
had no markets (handicraft)
were trapped in inequitable structured markets (coffee)
had no market, because it had been closed by political fiat (Nicaragua)
Movement status in popular and academic accounts
1988 creation of Max Havelaar label in NL
1997 creation of an international certification body
obtaining a "fair price" by making commodity chains, both shorter and faster
"FT suggests provocative possibilities for socially re-linking production, trade, and consumption and challenging the domination of the agro-food system by oligopolistic transnational corporations"
Trade, Not Aid!
"Progressive change requires a "symmetrical socio-ecological" conceptualization that facilitates political engagement"
Goodman and Goodman (2001)
Comercio Justo México
Marketing within the U.S. which falls under the rubric of "fair trade"
Fair Trade Apple Campaign
- distributes since 1997 fruits and
vegetables from family farmers to retail supermarkets in the Boston area
- based in Canton, Massachusetts
- FT-vocabulary nearly absent, instead familiar to US-citizens
- assuring a "fair price" and "long-term pricing arrangement
"Red Tomato is a nonpofit marketing organization that helps family farmers survive and helps make sure that local people can find high-quality, affordable, local produce." (Red Tomato)
- "brand" of its own, with no explicit fair trade element
United Farm Workers union
Problems for family farmers: apple industry is a highly globalized market, retail sourcing favouring large growers, late payment
WAFTA as an "economic collaboration" with family growers
- labeling apple products with unions logo
health and safety guarantees
respect for basic labor laws
Rather than setting "floor price"
- quality issue as an exclusionary force
- producing for a high-value global niche market brings opportunities and new set of demands and complexities:
Goodman & Goodman (2001)
"...the premium attached to fair trade organic [products] makes them high-priced luxury items, out of reach of the everyday purchases of lower-income consumers. Nor is there much consumption of these products in either the local or regional Southern contexts of their production; new institutional mechanisms will be needed to promote more socially inclusive patterns of sustainable consumption."
Demands for product consistency, quantity, quality and timely delivery
Threats to community well-being and cohesion
Responses to these very problems through FT within the South
Even with enormous growth, FT exports could never be a major development solution
Northern FT-markets represent only small share of the sales of coffee growers
1999 formation of "Comercio Justo México"
Vision of building a domestic fair trade market
2001: Mexican fair trade label
"These Mexican small producers do not only sell their goods on the international FT market. A significant part of their production continues to be sold in the domestic market, which is equally plagued by destructive intermediarism."
Comercio Justo México (2001)
Comercio Justo México, A.C.
- promotional and educational group combining various NGO's and peasant producer organizations
- marketing body for FT products owned by small producer organizations themselves
- independent mexican organic certifier monitoring aherence to FT criteria
development of own label raises the question of who is empowered to certify whom
Southern producers usually just participants, agenda-setting in the North
Opening Mexican market under NAFTA
Low quality imported corn undercut Mexican producers
Quality of Tortillas declined in tandem and prices rose
ANEC's vision: a national chain of tortillerias, selling tortillas made with GMO-free, Mexican corn, grown by the organizations' members
possibility that FT can like this reach and benefit the agricultural as well as the mainstream
"...our idea is that FT should not only be for the elites, but for everyone, for the majority, for the poor people. Quality food for poor people. Why just quality for the rich?..."
Data from 2006, Source: H.Friedmann, P.McMichael (2010)
North-North would need a dialogue with Southern examples (e.g. in conditions of labor, role of detailed standards, importance of "politicized commitments")
using the analogy of family farmers to explain fair trade to US-citizens
positive outlook: FT-movement will hopefully harness the "Moral charge" to improve conditions for small farmers in both North and South