The Agroecological Revolution in Latin America

This paper provides an overview of what we call ‘agroecological revolution’ in
Latin America. As the expansion of agroexports and biofuels continues unfolding
in Latin America and warming the planet, the concepts of food sovereignty and
agroecology-based agricultural production gain increasing attention. New
approaches and technologies involving the application of blended agroecological
science and indigenous knowledge systems are being spearheaded by a significant
number of peasants, NGOs and some government and academic institutions, and
they are proving to enhance food security while conserving natural resources, and
empowering local, regional and national peasant organizations and movements.
An assessment of various grassroots initiatives in Latin America reveals that the
application of the agroecological paradigm can bring significant environmental,
economic and political benefits to small farmers and rural communities as well as
urban populations in the region. The trajectory of the agroecological movements
in Brazil, the Andean region, Mexico, Central America and Cuba and their
potential to promote broad-based and sustainable agrarian and social change is
briefly presented and examined. We argue that an emerging threefold
‘agroecological revolution’, namely, epistemological, technical and social, is
creating new and unexpected changes directed at restoring local self-reliance,
conserving and regenerating natural resource agrobiodiversity, producing healthy
foods with low inputs, and empowering peasant organizations. These changes
directly challenge neoliberal modernization policies based on agribusiness and
agroexports while opening new political roads for Latin American agrarian
societies.

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