Accepted paper:

The agrarian strike strikes back: agrarian negotiations in Colombia and the food sovereignty movement


Felipe Roa-Clavijo (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores Colombia’s agrarian negotiations between the national government and the agrarian movement Cumbre Agraria. It questions the extent to which such process can re-shape the debates on food policy in the context of a more democratic debate based on social and political recognition.

Paper long abstract:

The current world agri-food system has been described by many as having perverse trends and outcomes that exclude poor and marginalized communities while providing support to those who need it less (Pimbert et al 2001, Thompson & Scoones 2009, Millstone et al 2009). But who represent these poor communities and what are they doing about such outcomes? How have these groups organised and created alternatives to overcome such inequalities? This paper explores Colombia's agrarian negotiations established after the 2013 and 2014 agrarian strikes between the national government and a group of agrarian movements that include peasant, indigenous and African-Colombian communities. The main questions this paper asks are: what are the competing visions and their implications for the national food system? to what extent can this negotiation re-shape the debates on food and agricultural policies? The agrarian movements are contesting the development model implemented by the government based on export-oriented agriculture and cheap food imports. Instead, they are proposing a peasant economy model based on food sovereignty and local food systems to supply the domestic demand. In this context I argue that the social and political recognition of the agrarian movements participating in the negotiations with the government is not only a step forward in the inclusion of the most marginalised rural communities, but a step towards a more democratic debate on food. A first analysis of this negotiation shows that the issue of food provision is emerging as a key debate in agrarian movements' struggle for justice and sustainability.

panel P07
Reclaiming the political: reflections on the tactics and strategies of actors in the quest for just and sustainable food governance