1st Edition

The Politics of Food Provisioning in Colombia Agrarian Movements and Negotiations with the State

By Felipe Roa-Clavijo Copyright 2022
    226 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores food provisioning in Colombia by examining the role and impact of the agrarian negotiations which took place in the aftermath of the 2013–2014 national strikes.

    Most of the research in the field of agrarian studies in Colombia has focused on inequalities in land distribution, the impacts of violent conflict, and most recently, the first phase of the peace agreement implementation. This book links and complements these literatures by critically engaging with an original framework that uncovers the conflicts and politics of food provisioning: who produces what and where, and with what socio-economic effects. This analytical lens is used to explain the re-emergence of national agrarian movements, their contestation of the dominant development narratives and their engagement in discussions about food sovereignty with the state. The analysis incorporates a wide range of voices from high-level government representatives and leaders from national agrarian movements. Their narratives of food provisioning and the broader role of the food industry are reviewed and the key findings show an underlying conflict within food provisioning based on the struggle of marginalised smallholders to develop alternative agri-food systems that can be included in the local and domestic food markets in the context of a state dominated by an export and import approach. Overall, the book argues that the battle ground of agrarian conflicts has moved to the fi eld of food provisioning and using this approach has the potential to reframe the debate about the future of food and agriculture in Colombia and beyond.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of food and agriculture, rural development, peasant studies, and Latin American Studies.

    1. Introduction: the emerging debates of food provisioning

    2. A framework for analysing dynamics of food and agriculture in Colombia

    3. The hidden battles of food provisioning: background to a central debate

    4. A restless journey and the emergence of the food-provisioning debate

    5. Agrarian negotiations 2014–2018 and the competing narratives of food and agriculture

    6. Negotiating food sovereignty in Colombia

    7. Broadening the conversation: food consumption and corporate food sector dynamics

    8 Conclusions: what could be future pathways of food and agriculture in Colombia?


    Felipe Roa-Clavijo is a researcher and Global Policy Lead for the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford, UK, and a visiting research fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, USA. In 2019, his doctoral thesis, on which this book is based, won the prestigious Colombian National Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities category from the Alejandro Angel Escobar Foundation. Felipe has a PhD in International Development from the University of Oxford, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University and an undergraduate degree in Ecology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

    "In the wake of the agricultural mobilizations of 2013 and subsequent years, and the peace accord of 2016, Felipe Roa-Clavijo’s book is a timely and important contribution to the study of rural Colombia’s problems and potential. It widens the focus beyond the more familiar questions of land tenure to include the renewed debate around the dilemmas, political and economic, of how Colombia should feed itself. Its relevance is far from being exclusively Colombian."
    Malcolm Deas, Emeritus Fellow of Latin American Politics, St. Antony’s College. University of Oxford

    "We have known for a long time that power relations lie in food choices as much as in agricultural policies, but Roa-Clavijo’s carefully crafted account renews our understanding of why agri-food systems with their built-in provisioning mechanisms are so deeply political. Even more importantly, Roa-Clavijo’s study demonstrates that, in Colombia, a focus on food provisioning (visions of how to feed whom and by what means) has enabled actors to come together as a nation. Through their negotiations, actors have worked at liberating politics from decades of land violence. One can only hope that the current commitment to inclusive politics of land, food and agriculture will facilitate the emergence of resilient and thriving local economies."
    Laura M. Rival, Professor of Anthropology of Nature, Society and Development. University of Oxford

    "This is a fascinating book. If you want to learn about the complex intersections of the politics of food provisioning, changes in agri-food systems and the role of social movements you must read it. Based on detailed research in Colombia, the book is an important contribution to debates in agrarian studies and wider discussions around food politics and competing pathways to sustainable development."
    Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow, STEPS Centre, the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

    "Lying at the heart of so many other political, economic and environmental pressures, arguably no challenge in the world is more important than equitable and sustainable food provision. At the present critical juncture, there is barely a country in the world where associated imperatives are more acute, transformations more radical, or opportunities more salient, than Colombia. Taking an interdisciplinary ‘agri-food systems approach’, Felipe Roa-Clavijo offers an admirably clear, comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the complex intersecting issues. His focus at the end on the importance of ‘directionality’, ‘distribution’, ‘diversity’ and ‘democracy’, offers a compelling agenda for action."
    Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex

    "This is a uniquely informed and engaging discussion of dynamics, past and present, of food-provisioning in Colombia. Importantly, it represents a significant contribution to understandings of the national agrarian strike and the emergence of new agrarian movements. A must read for anyone interested in imaging new paradigms of food and agriculture in the context of changing challenges and politics."
    Jessica Duncan, Associate Professor in the Politics of Sustainable Food Systems Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University