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Family farmers and major retail chains in the Brazilian organic sector: assessing new development pathways. A case study in a peri-urban district of Sao Paulo

By Julien Blanc


The expansion of the organic sector in Brazil is seen as a leverage for the social emancipation of the small family farmers. Next to the traditional alternatives circuits of organic food and farming, new powerful capitalistic actors, such as supermarket chains, are rapidly entering the Brazilian organic arena. Can family farming benefit from the development of these “conventional” commercialisation circuits in the organic sector? Research undertaken in 2007, in a green belt rural community of São Paulo, shows how family farmers benefited from the implication of large retail chains in the organic sector and how an economically and ecologically outstanding agriculture may arise from these circumstances. However, we highlight the crucial role played by social regulation: only strong solidarity between farmers and the implication of technicians, militants and researchers in the process made it possible to counter the negative effects of the liberal logic governing the development of organic farming via the major retailers. Still, as tougher competition is expected on the regional organic market, the development of short supply chains involving “committed” consumers and the broader integration of the local farmers in networks of organic militancy appear crucial. It would guarantee a continuous enhancement of the local human and social capital, reinforce an emerging process of internal conversion and allow for a stronger social regulation of the future local development pattern

Topics: Markets and trade, Community development, Social aspects
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:orgprints.org:15481
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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