“Moral economy.”

The debate on food sovereignty has elicited a heated debate across the world. Latin America has particularly experienced civil disobedience and ruthless government intervention in which people were killed. The peasant farmers have faced steady decline in gainful sales of crops. Such slump in agricultural productivity is partly due to traditional subsistence farming and limited political goodwill to promote the course of the peasant farmers. The concept of moral economy underscores the significance of fairness and justice when it comes to policy recommendations that address the interest of traditional farmers. The peasant riots that characterized Europe in eighteenth century compelled Thompson to coin the term. In the contemporary world, Latin America is a victim of mass extractivism that seems to undermine its future (Miguel & Victor 588). It is important to undertake a critical review of the Latin American food sovereignty and increasing agro-ecology.

Latin America is currently absorbed in agro-exports and biofuels. While such programs are encouraged by the government, the peasant farmers are losing their productivity. Food sovereignty emphasizes sustainable production that is sensitive to environment and fit to the cultural constructs of the community. In regard to Benjamin’s argument, steady pressure of free market forces of demand and supply is the greatest threat to the subsistence farmers (p.235). In the context of moral economy, the government policies that promote free market price mechanism is responsible for agro-exports and depletion of biofuels that degrade environment, worsen soil conditions, and climate. In that regard, moral economy should enhance promotion of the peasant interest, integration of local culture in the modern technological advancement in food production. Latin America is facing poverty as a result of poor economic policies that emphasize the exploitative extractives industry.

Benjamin (p.246) offers an insight into the causes of Chilean food riot. In essence, the peasant held protests in the interest of each other and the society at large. As food prices soar, the subsistence farmer is pushed out of the market due to high input prices and influx of agro-export multinationals. In that respect, government attempts to repress food riots is a reflection of failed economy. Moral economy requires justice to all participants in the economy (Marygold 574). The centrality of subsistence farmers in feeding a larger rural population calls for government intervention in the form of subsidies and training to support them. Besides, it is important to note the role of food prices ceiling and floors that government set to help farmers earn and make food affordable. Environmental care is key in sustainable food production, however, the overwhelming biofuel production and export in Latin America is a myopic decision that carries irreparable risk in the future. Interest of small scale farmers through provision of farm input, introduction of modern technology and eliminating free market will work towards food sovereignty.

Marygold offers a different approach of moral economy in Bolivia (p.677). In reference to the emerging commercialization of an indigenous Quinoa, the traditional farmers have not got proper integration into the market. Skewed distribution of resources is against the indigenous people and such circumstances amount to future unsustainability. Economic policies must emphasize price control while the mass destruction of forests for biofuel need to be regulated and reforestation promoted. The assertion of Marygold (p.570) in the significance of hybridity in the highlands of Bolivia is a recipe to sustainability and illuminates moral economy that will yield food sovereignty

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