Agri-Food Globalisation and Rural Transformation in Chile: Smallholder Livelihoods in the Global Value Chain for Raspberries
As transnational capital continues to penetrate the agricultural sectors of developing countries, agri-food production-consumption is increasingly organised at the global scale. This has profound implications for small-scale farmers in the global South, who are being integrated into a globalising agri-food system geared towards the provision of agricultural commodities to meet the demands of wealthy consumers in Northern markets. Chile is one country that has purposefully inserted itself into the world trading system as an agri-exporter - a strategy that has fundamentally transformed Chilean agriculture. Framed within an examination of agrarian transformations in Chile and a world-historical account of agri-food globalisation, this thesis critically examines local-global linkages engendered by agri-food globalisation through a case study of export-oriented Chilean smallholder raspberry growers. The study aims to understand the structure and dynamics of the global value chain for raspberries, and to determine the livelihood implications of smallholder growers' participation in it. A detailed, locality case study was conducted in Yerbas Buenas - an important site of raspberry production within Chile - combining analysis of the raspberry value chain, and an in-depth survey of grower livelihoods. The value chain component focuses on key chain actors and functions within Chile, examining the role of public and private sector organisations governing and coordinating activities along the chain. The livelihoods component examines the significance of raspberry production within diversified household livelihood strategies, considering key assets, capabilities and mediating factors shaping smallholders' access to the value chain. Additionally, the research seeks to explore synergies and tensions between global value chain and sustainable rural livelihoods approaches, and to consider their integrative potential. The thesis finds that increasing competitive pressures, particularly arising from the evolving quality requirements of key overseas buyers, are seriously undermining the capacity of smallholder growers to participate in the chain. While existing private and public sector support is necessary for the participation of the smallest growers, it is not sufficient to secure their survival. It is argued that the neoliberal macroeconomic model represents a major barrier to smallholder participation, as the modernising agri-export-led growth strategy that it underpins can not accommodate the degree of intervention or the redistribution of resources required to address socio-economic inequality in the Chilean countryside.