IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Crop diversification and trade liberalization: Linking global trade and local management through a regional case study


  • Evan D. Fraser



Some models anticipate that liberalized agricultural trade will lead to increased crop diversity, while other models make the opposite claim. These positions were explored in southwestern British Columbia, Canada where, between 1992 and 1998, government subsidies and other measures designed to protect horticultural farmers were lifted, exposing these farmers to foreign competition. Public hearings on the future of agriculture provided an opportunity to tap the knowledge and experience of people affected by this transition. Analysis of transcripts from these hearings, which was confirmed by industry data, shows that trade liberalization has led to the loss of the local fruit and vegetable processing industry. Stakeholders saw the loss as a major factor affecting the choice of crops grown locally. To test this assertion, crop diversity data were analyzed, differentiating crops grown for the processing industry from those grown for the fresh market. Results show that crop diversity increased for processing crops but not for fresh crops. Farmers who used to produce commodities for the fruit and vegetable processing industry seem to have been forced to find new crops to cope with the decline in the processing industry. Here then is a case where the effects of trade were indirect (they were mediated by another variable: the loss of the processing industry) and variable (they differed for the two groups of crops). This may have significant environmental implications as scientific research shows that diverse agro-ecosystems are better able to withstand pest outbreaks and require less agri-chemicals than simple systems. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Evan D. Fraser, 2006. "Crop diversification and trade liberalization: Linking global trade and local management through a regional case study," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 23(3), pages 271-281, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:23:y:2006:i:3:p:271-281
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-006-9005-5

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ramos-Martin, Jesus, 2003. "Empiricism in ecological economics: a perspective from complex systems theory," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 387-398, October.
    2. Maya, Peter H. & Bonilla, Olman Segura, 1997. "The environmental effects of agricultural trade liberalization in Latin America: an interpretation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 5-18, July.
    3. Faber, Malte & Manstetten, Reiner & Proops, John L. R., 1995. "On the conceptual foundations of ecological economics: A teleological approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 41-54, January.
    4. Pannell, David J. & Glenn, Nicole A., 2000. "A framework for the economic evaluation and selection of sustainability indicators in agriculture," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 135-149, April.
    5. Tisdell, Clem, 2003. "Socioeconomic causes of loss of animal genetic diversity: analysis and assessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 365-376, July.
    6. Frank Figge, 2004. "Managing biodiversity correctly - Efficient portfolio management as an effective way of protecting species," Others 0408007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Rotz & Evan Fraser, 2015. "Resilience and the industrial food system: analyzing the impacts of agricultural industrialization on food system vulnerability," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 5(3), pages 459-473, September.
    2. Jeremy Northcote & Abel Alonso, 2011. "Factors underlying farm diversification: the case of Western Australia’s olive farmers," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 28(2), pages 237-246, June.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:23:y:2006:i:3:p:271-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.