WG1. Land, water, agro-diversity and agricultural technologies

Debates about access and land management have multiplied in the Americas. The mechanisms of tenure, appropriation, advance of the agricultural frontier, land distribution and concentration of ownership give witness to situations that entail relationships of domination, violence, dispossession, and negotiation between social groups and agrarian reforms. In parallel, access to fertile soils and agricultural inputs and their effects on the abilities of communities to define their food strategies have become central elements of control and autonomy, with important consequences for human and environmental health in territories.

This axis seeks to articulate the production structures from family peasantry to transnational corporations, with the aim of understanding the power relations that are woven around the earth. These are understood not only as a resource, capital, or means of production but also as a combination of heterogeneous elements that include material substances, technologies, discourses, and social and cultural practices that take different forms in different contexts.

The reduction of agrodiversity (from wild to cultivated species) in the last four decades is the result of multiple factors. From soil fertility, reduction in the labor force, homogenized prices that don’t factor in the richness of agricultural diversity, the commercial circuits' favoring of product homogeneity has led to an accelerated loss of agrodiversity with standardization of diets and the health of consumers as consequences.

The unequal use and distribution of water, agricultural technologies and materials of production are fundamental to understanding differences in production capacities, strategies, and survival of the multiple actors involved in different territories. Access to seeds, the growing importance of international certifications, intellectual property disputes, the massive application of synthetic agrochemicals, and the use of new information technologies (such as the so-called "precision agriculture") are some of the the issues that best explain the complex ways in which small-scale family farmers are unequally linked to large agro-export enterprises (for example, through contract farming or renting plots). But they also become the forms that mediate access and control over land and territories, based on the dynamics of agricultural extractivism and the dispossession of land, understood as a violent process of sociospatial reconfiguration, where the abilities that individuals and communities have to decide on their livelihoods and ways of life are limited.

Topics:

· Dispossession of land

· Seed commodification, monopolies of agricultural materials

· Unequal access to water

· Loss of agrodiversity

· Synthetic biotechnology