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Value Chains and Global Inequalities: Plantain, Contract Farming, and Vulnerability of the Small-Scale Farmers in Colombia (Discussion Paper)

Baquero Melo, Jairo (2014): Value Chains and Global Inequalities: Plantain, Contract Farming, and Vulnerability of the Small-Scale Farmers in Colombia (Discussion Paper).

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Abstract

The plantain is an important agricultural product worldwide. It is the staple food of millions of people, and represents a source of incomes for farmers participating in the international trade. In Colombia, the exportation plantain is chiefly harvested by small-scale farmers. However, they are in a position of vulnerability, facing several risks. Firstly, the obstacles to access the global markets, and the competition with the trader companies. Secondly, the volatility of prices and the exchange rate, which produce unequal effects on them. Thirdly, the environmental risks associated with windstorms and tree diseases. Amid the economic liberalization, the small-scale farmers lack a permanent governmental support to cope with those risks. And the international cooperation is unable to support all the growers. Thus, the small-scale farmers have created organizations to raise their demands, amid nationwide peasant protests against the Free Trade Agreements.

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