Food systems and sovereignty: Exploring geographies of uneven development in the Caribbean

Marion Werner, Department of Geography, SUNY-Buffalo

Friday.  13.Jan.2016.

3:00-5:00pm.  SS2125.

100 St. George Street

Tea. Coffee. Cookies

ABSTRACT: This talk considers broader debates on food sovereignty and uneven development in relation to the Dominican Republic’s food system. The Dominican state remains central to the country’s food production relative to many of its neighbours in the Caribbean, a region associated with extreme exposure to international markets in food and agriculture. The form of the state’s involvement was forged through right-wing land reforms of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which incorporated some 30,000 households into domestic rice production. Today, these “reform sector” farmers, together with their private sector counterparts, meet the country’s entire demand for this staple crop. Rice production is characterized by intensive use of imported agro-chemicals, a largely Haitian migrant workforce, state subsidies to irrigation, a government-funded warehousing and insurance scheme, and, crucially, a protected market. Dominican rice production clearly plays a role in materializing state sovereignty in the context of a regulatory patchwork apparently dominated by international markets and the dictates of multinationals. As the country begins the formal process of liberalization for rice and other sensitive food items under the provisions of a free trade agreement (i.e., DR-CAFTA), the talk offers a basis for the consideration of food sovereignty in the context of uneven regulatory development.

Intersections: Lectures, etc. Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

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Development Seminar Series, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto

 

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