MONTAÑA Elma Carmen
congresos y reuniones científicas
"South American Peasants and Poor Farmers Facing Global Environmental Change. A Development Dilemma"
México Distrito Federal
Simposio; Poverty and peasant persistence in the contemporary world; 2012
Institución organizadora:
Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Sociológicos Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco
Climate and hydrology expected changes in Latin American drylands are likely to affect drinking and irrigation water availability, threatening productive systems and the subsistence of some rural dwellers. A CLACSO-CROP financed research on vulnerability of rural communities in watershed basins of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile have shown that expected drought and diminishing river flows would compromise the wellbeing of the smallest producers and peasants of these socio-ecological systems, who are already affected by other stressors, such as globalization, restricted fiscal policies and long established situations of poverty and inequity. In the context of global environmental change, irrigation water scarcity would certainly affect peasants and poor farmers? food security. But beyond that, water struggles would restrict the possibilities of upholding their food sovereignty while developing resilience and reducing the vulnerability associated with dependence on food markets that are not only volatile but inherently inequitable. Having water to run a small farm makes it possible not only to meet household subsistence needs but also for people to project their future life and their families? in their place of origin. The possibility of working in their own land would reduce the vulnerability of those that have to resort to salaried jobs or to move in search of gainful employment in asymmetric labor markets and would slow down migrations that separate families and put migrants in a situation of subordination, alienation and sometimes exclusion from economic and cultural systems that look down on their values. In dryland rural communities, access to irrigation water is a necessary - though not sufficient - condition for people to maintain their traditional lifestyles, to ?live in culture? and to ?live well?. Depriving rural communities from these territorial rights would lead to their impoverishment, while ensuring the exercise of these rights would cast doubts about the hegemonic development model. Thus, it seems that global environmental change is a driver for poverty spirals that threaten the survival of specific agricultural development models, not those that are more integrated to the agribusiness processes but rather the subordinated, traditional models based on small-scale production and tightly connected to natural cycles. Along with their decline, traditional testimonies and practices related to these models would be lost, including their interpretative schemes and rationales based on values and worldviews different from the prevailing development model. After having explored peasant´s poverty situations in the light of the climate change - specially drought -, the paper examines the ways in which these situations project on the issue of poverty persistence. It enquires about the effects of the responses to climate change on peasantry persistence and explores possible outcomes of diverse adaptation options. Finally, it identifies an opportunity to link climate change adaptation to poverty reduction policies although this could only be achieved by changing the development paradigm.