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Brazil’s Agricultural Politics in Africa: More Food International and the Disputed Meanings of “Family Farming”

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  • Cabral, Lídia
  • Favareto, Arilson
  • Mukwereza, Langton
  • Amanor, Kojo

Abstract

Brazil’s influence in agricultural development in Africa has become noticeable in recent years. South–South cooperation is one of the instruments for engagement, and affinities between Brazil and African countries are invoked to justify the transfer of technology and public policies. In this article, we take the case of one of Brazil’s development cooperation programs, More Food International (MFI), to illustrate why policy concepts and ideas that emerge in particular settings, such as family farming in Brazil, do not travel easily across space and socio-political realities. Taking a discourse-analytical perspective, we consider actors’ narratives of family farming and the MFI program, and how these narratives navigate between Brazil and three African countries – Ghana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. We find that in Brazil, family farming has multiple meanings that expose contrasting visions of agricultural development as determined by history, geography and class-based power struggles. These multiple meanings are reflected in the disparate ways MFI is portrayed and practiced by Brazilian actors who emphasize commercial opportunity, political advocacy, or technological modernization. We also find that African countries adopt their own interpretations of family farming and MFI, and that these are more attuned with mercantilist and modernization perspectives, and less mindful of Brazil’s domestic political struggles. This has prompted a reaction from those on the Brazilian side fighting for an alternative agricultural development trajectory. The significance of this reaction is yet to be determined.

Suggested Citation

  • Cabral, Lídia & Favareto, Arilson & Mukwereza, Langton & Amanor, Kojo, 2016. "Brazil’s Agricultural Politics in Africa: More Food International and the Disputed Meanings of “Family Farming”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 47-60.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:81:y:2016:i:c:p:47-60
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.11.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Medina, Gabriel & Almeida, Camila & Novaes, Evandro & Godar, Javier & Pokorny, Benno, 2015. "Development Conditions for Family Farming: Lessons From Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 386-396.
    2. Elizabeth Alice Clements & Bernardo Mançano Fernandes, 2013. "Land Grabbing, Agribusiness and the Peasantry in Brazil and Mozambique," Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, Centre for Agrarian Research and Education for South, vol. 2(1), pages 41-69, April.
    3. Diao, Xinshen & Cossar, Frances & Houssou, Nazaire & Kolavalli, Shashidhara, 2014. "Mechanization in Ghana: Emerging demand, and the search for alternative supply models," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 168-181.
    4. Francesco Maria Pierri, 2013. "How Brazil's Agrarian Dynamics Shape Development Cooperation in Africa," IDS Bulletin, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 69-79, July.
    5. Benin, Samuel, 2014. "Impact of Ghana’s agricultural mechanization services center program:," IFPRI discussion papers 1330, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Kojo Sebastian Amanor, 2013. "Expanding Agri‐business: China and Brazil in Ghanaian Agriculture," IDS Bulletin, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 80-90, July.
    7. Roe, Emery M., 1991. "Development narratives, or making the best of blueprint development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 287-300, April.
    8. Oliver James & Martin Lodge, 2003. "The Limitations of 'Policy Transfer' and 'Lesson Drawing' for Public Policy Research," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 1(2), pages 179-193.
    9. Gourevitch, Peter, 1978. "The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 881-912, September.
    10. Shankland, Alex & Gonçalves, Euclides, 2016. "Imagining Agricultural Development in South–South Cooperation: The Contestation and Transformation of ProSAVANA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 35-46.
    11. Wendy Wolford, 2005. "Agrarian moral economies and neoliberalism in Brazil: competing worldviews and the state in the struggle for land," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(2), pages 241-261, February.
    12. Cecilia Rocha, 2009. "Developments in National Policies for Food and Nutrition Security in Brazil," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 27(1), pages 51-66, January.
    13. Lídia Cabral & Alex Shankland & Arilson Favareto & Alcides Costa Vaz, 2013. "Brazil–Africa Agricultural Cooperation Encounters: Drivers, Narratives and Imaginaries of Africa and Development," IDS Bulletin, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(4), pages 53-68, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scoones, Ian & Amanor, Kojo & Favareto, Arilson & Qi, Gubo, 2016. "A New Politics of Development Cooperation? Chinese and Brazilian Engagements in African Agriculture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Amanor, Kojo S. & Chichava, Sérgio, 2016. "South–South Cooperation, Agribusiness, and African Agricultural Development: Brazil and China in Ghana and Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 13-23.
    3. Shankland, Alex & Gonçalves, Euclides, 2016. "Imagining Agricultural Development in South–South Cooperation: The Contestation and Transformation of ProSAVANA," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 35-46.

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