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Participatory processes in the soy conflicts in Paraguay and Argentina

2010, ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS - número/volum 2/70 - ISSN: 0921-8009 - Pàgines 196-206 - DOI 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.06.013

Autors de l'ICTA:
Nancy Arizpe Ramos

Tots els autors:
Gustavo A. García-López and Nancy Arizpe

Within emerging environmental conflicts, different participatory processes have developed as alternatives to the top-down models that have dominated policy-making. In this paper, we focus on conflicts over the expansion of soy production. We analyze three issues related to top-down vs. bottom-up participatory processes and how they affect the proposals coming out of these processes: who counts as stakeholder (the role of social movements), what counts as participation (the role of mobilization), and who has power to select stakeholders and issues, make decisions, and influence preferences. To explore these issues, we present a case study of two parallel participatory processes in rural areas of Paraguay and Argentina. One of these, the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, is top-down, created by large agri-business multinationals and international conservation NGOs with the support of the governments in the region, and has focused on establishing criteria for “responsible soy”. The other is bottom-up, self-organized by peasant and civil society organizations, and focused on stopping soy expansion and promoting food sovereignty. The findings highlight the potential of bottom-up processes to promote true agricultural sustainability while at the same time emphasizing the need for more research on grassroots participatory processes and their potential and limitations in different contexts.

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