Safe milk and risky quinoa

The lottery and precarity of farming in Peru

in Focaal
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Oslo astrid.b.stensrud@uia.no
Restricted access

Abstract

The neoliberal global food system has intensified the uncertainties associated with peasant farming and agrarian livelihoods around the world. This article examines processes of precarization among smallholder farmers in the Majes Irrigation Project in Peru. By discussing price volatility and uncertainty related to the “free market,” I argue that the conditions of small-scale entrepreneurial farmers today can best be understood in terms of gambling and precarity. After four decades of neoliberal deregulation, farmers in Majes describe agriculture as a “lottery” where one can win or lose everything. Despite prospects of growth and progress, most farmers rely on low-income dairy farming or contracted crops for agro-industrial corporations. The freedom to take risks in the open market entails uncertainty and often results in loss, and farmers must negotiate the ambiguous relation between autonomy and dependency.

Contributor Notes

Astrid B. Stensrud holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Oslo and is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Agder. This article was written when she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. Her research interests focus on water, climate change, neoliberalism, state practices, and the informal economy in Peru. Email: astrid.b.stensrud@uia.no

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

  • Almanza, Claudia. 2013. “El boom agroexportador de la páprika volvería en 2014” [The agro-export boom of the paprika would return in 2014]. La Repúblia, 1 November. http://larepublica.pe/31-10-2013/el-boom-agroexportador-de-la-paprika-volveria-en-2014.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bernstein, Henry. 2009. “V. I. Lenin and A. V. Chayanov: Looking back, looking forward.” Journal of Peasant Studies 36 (1): 5581.

  • Cant, Anna. 2012. “‘Land for those who work it’: A visual analysis of agrarian reform posters in Velasco's Peru.” Journal of Latin American Studies 44: 137.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collier, David. 1978. Barriadas y élites: De Odría a Velasco [Neighborhoods and elites: From Odría to Velasco]. Lima: IEP.

  • Crabtree, John. 2002. “The impact of neo-liberal economics on Peruvian peasant agriculture in the 1990s.” Journal of Peasant Studies 29 (3-4): 131161.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gelles, Paul H. 2000. Water and power in highland Peru: The cultural politics of irrigation and development. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gloria S. A. 2018. “Exportaciones” [Exports]. Accessed 19 November. http://www.grupogloria.com/gloriaEXPORTACIONES.html.

  • Guillet, David. 1992. Covering ground: Communal water management and the state in the Peruvian Andes. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  • Harvey, David. 2005. Spaces of neoliberalization: Towards a theory of uneven geographical development: Hettner-lecture 2004. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hunefeldt, Christine. 1997. “The rural landscape and changing political awareness. Enterprises, agrarian producers, and peasant communities, 1969–1994.” In The Peruvian labyrinth: Polity, society, economy, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron and Philip Mauceri, 107133. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • IIC (Inter-American Investment Corporation). 2018. “Agrícola Pampa Baja S.A.C.15 June. https://www.iic.org/en/projects/project-disclosure/12217-01/agr%C3%ADcola-pampa-baja-sac.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kearney, Michael. 1996. Reconceptualizing the peasantry: Anthropology in global perspective. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • Klarén, Peter F. 2000. Peru: Society and nationhood in the Andes. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Klein, Naomi. 2007. The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. New York: Picador.

  • Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich. (1899) 1972. Collected works, vol. 3: The development of capitalism in Russia. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

  • Li, Tania Murray. 2009. “To make live of let die? Rural dispossession and the protection of surplus populations.” Antipode 41 (S1): 6693.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Li, Tania Murray. 2014. Land's end: Capitalist relations on an indigenous frontier. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Little, Peter D., and Michael J. Watts. 1994. Living under contract: Contract farming and agrarian transformation in sub-Saharan Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mariátegui, José Carlos. (1928) 2001. Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana [Seven interpretive essays on Peruvian reality]. Lima: Empresa Editora Amauta.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mayer, Enrique. 2009. Ugly stories of the Peruvian agrarian reform. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • McMichael, Philip. 2012. “The land grab and corporate food regime restructuring.” Journal of Peasant Studies 39 (3–4): 681701.

  • Molé, Noelle J. 2010. “Precarious subjects: Anticipating neoliberalism in northern Italy's Workplace.” American Anthropologist 112 (1): 3853.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Muehlebach, Andrea. 2012. The moral neoliberal: Welfare and citizenship in Italy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Narotzky, Susana. 2016. “Where have all the peasants gone?Annual Review of Anthropology 45: 301318.

  • Ong, Aihwa. 2006. Neoliberalism as exception: Mutations in citizenship and sovereignty. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Polanyi, Karl. (1944) 2001. The great transformation: The political and economic origins of our time. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Rénique, José Luís. 1991. Los sueños de la sierra: Cusco en el siglo XX [The dreams of the sierra: Cusco in the 20th century]. Lima: CEPES.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roseberry, William. 1978. “Peasants as proletarians.” Critique of Anthropology 11: 318.

  • Sage, Colin. 2013. “The interconnected challenges for food security from a food regimes perspective: Energy, climate and malconsumption.” Journal of Rural Studies 29: 7180.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seligmann, Linda J. 1995. Between reform and revolution. Political struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969–1991. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, Gavin. 1989. Livelihood and resistance: Peasants and the politics of land in Peru. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Smith, Neil. 1984. Uneven development: Nature, capital, and the production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Solfrini, Giuseppe. 2001. “The Peruvian labor movement under authoritarian neoliberalism. From decline to demise.” International Journal of Political Economy 31 (2): 4477.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Standing, Guy. 2011. The precariat: The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

  • Statista. 2018. “Quinoa Market: Statistics & Facts.” Accessed 19 November. https://www.statista.com/topics/2813/quinoa-market.

  • Van der Ploeg, Jan Douwe. 2008. The new peasantries: Struggles for autonomy and sustainability in an era of empire and globalization. London: Earthscan.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van der Ploeg, Jan Douwe. 2010. “The food crisis, industrialized farming and the imperial Regime.” Journal of Agrarian Change 10 (1): 98106.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Watters, Raymond Frederick. 1994. Poverty and peasantry in Peru's southern Andes, 1963–90. London: Macmillan Press.

  • Wolf, Eric. 1955. “Types of Latin American peasantry: A preliminary discussion.” American Anthropologist 57 (3): 452471.

  • World Bank. 2007. World development report 2008: Agriculture for development. Washington DC: World Bank.

  • Zamalloa, Edgar Bravo. 2013. Reseña histórica del distrito de Majes [Historical review of Majes district]. Lima: Corporación Grafical.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 162 162 2
Full Text Views 30 30 0
PDF Downloads 50 50 0