The political ecology of soybean farming systems in Mato Grosso, Brazil - Mateo Mier y Ter n [PPT 19.92MB]

The political ecology of soybean
farming systems in Mato Grosso,
Mateo Mier y Terán
Supervised by:
Prof Ian Scoones and Dr John Thompson
SPRU DPhil Day
University of Sussex
24th of may 2011
Introduction and topic of interest I
• Soybean has become the fourth most
produced crop in the world and its
increasing production is concentrated
mainly in three countries (>80% is
produced in Brazil, USA and Argentina).
• The expansion and the way it has occur has
raised environmental and socio economic
concerns. The focus of this concern has been
on the implications of the model of
For some …
for others…
• Theoretical Framework
– Political Ecology – scale and time
– Socio-technical systems
– Policy Process Analysis – narratives and
• Body of literature to speak to
– Political Economy – agrarian transformation
– Rural Sociology and food geography studies –
farming styles (van der Ploeg, 2008)
– What policy narratives frame the way
farming – and its socio‚Äźeconomic and
environmental implications – are seen by
different actors?
– What farming and livelihood practices
exist across farms of different scales of
– How does this all shape the role of
soybeans within farming systems – and
the implications for sustainability?
– Case selection – Querência-MT
dominant soybean production
1987 private colonization
presence of ‘green’ initiatives
presence of five land reform settlements
representation of both rural unions
– Nine farmers – diverse scales of production
• Semi structured interviews and participant
– Actor-network mapping and policy process
Soybean expansion in Brazil and Mato Grosso
Source: Aprosoja
– Case selection – Querência-MT
– Nine farmers – random selection of diverse
scales of production
• Semi structured interviews and participant
observation for two weeks each.
– Actor-network mapping and policy process
Large scale >1000ha
The stereotype?
Medium scale 1000ha>&>100ha
Not commonly considered
A mix picture
Small scale <100ha
The actual existence of them
Internal struggle of farming styles
The two main narratives are being challenged so definitions
and views are changing.
There is not only two positions.
The dominant ways the agri-food system is being questioned
and the kind of interventions that aim to create a more
sustainable soybean agri-food system do not capture the
heterogeneity of farming styles.
These do not tackle the issue of exclusion of family
agriculture and may restrict its participation in the
initiatives (diverse uses of soybean).
Narratives are highly political, so often these do not represent
complex and dynamic phenomena
• Coming stages –
– Analysis, writing and second phase of
• Difficulties
– Constrains of having a case study
– Defining what differences between farming
styles are relevant
– Arguing why heterogeneity is relevant when
political dynamics justify blunt statements.
(there are assumptions that will not be
questioned directly by my research)