Agriculture in Puerto Rico has been experiencing a renaissance after decades of being one of the least productive activities in the gross domestic product. In early 20th century, during the first decades of the United States colonial rule, agriculture was the main economic activity primarily producing sugar cane for exportation. After World War II, the island's economy rapidly industrialized, leading to the downfall of agriculture production and the destruction of the local capacity for food production. Today, Puerto Rico imports 85% of food consumed through vulnerable supply chains with crippling consequences to the economy such as the rise of living costs for the population. During the eighties, the agroecological movement emerged as an advocate for food sovereignty and environmental sustainability. Agroecology presents itself as an alternative practice for food production with high impact on local communities through the substitution of agrochemicals with natural inputs and the use of labor intensive practices. The movement has been able to converge production efforts of a growing number of farms but, is it enough to articulate an alternative model of local development? This thesis aims to make a contribution to the understanding of the Puerto Rican agroecological movement, in particular its potential to act as a space for concertation and agglutination of productive forces for its eventual consolidation as a development actor. Through quantitative and qualitative methodology, in the form of interviews, document review and analysis of statistical data, we describe the capacities of the agroecological movement for the promotion of an alternative model of local development; and how the adoption of short productive chains, as a strategy of insertion in the food market, can promote a better distribution of the local economic benefits. The results of our research demonstrate that the agroecological movement contains the capacities to promote an alternative model of local development. These capacities depend on the organization efforts of agroecological farmers that allow the design and implementation of strategies in the form of short food productive chains. These strategies allowed the increased visibility of their production and the amplification of their market reach. Our research found that greater success in market insertion strategies has promoted agroecology as a practice and encouraged the arrival of new farmers to the movement. In addition, we argue that strengthening their productive capacities increases access to resources for the political organization of the movement and its ability to influence the public policy agenda.
|Advisor:||Nogueira, María E., Andrenacci, Luciano|
|Commitee:||Lissidini, Alicia, Senesi, Sebastián, Villarreal, Federico|
|Department:||Development Management & Policy Program|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 57/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Area Planning and Development, Agricultural economics, Sustainability|
|Keywords:||Agriculture, Agroecological movement, Agroecology, Development, Puerto Rico, Short supply chains|
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