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Food Sovereignty and Struggle for Land: The Experience of the MST in Brazil

Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence

ISBN: 978-1-78441-090-2, eISBN: 978-1-78441-089-6

ISSN: 1057-1922

Publication date: 3 December 2014

Abstract

Major pillar of Via Campesina in Brazil, the Landless Workers’ Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST) political platform combines land reform and agro-ecology, claiming for a profound change in the hegemonic agriculture model in the country, hoisting the ‘food sovereignty’ flag. However, this was not a linear trajectory. Focusing on events that took place in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the birthplace of the MST, this chapter aims to analyse the different path followed by MST there in order to consolidate the ‘conquered’ settlements. The organization approached, initially, a network of technicians and social organizations critics of the technological package of the Green Revolution in Brazil. Afterwards, choose to support the deployment of conventional agriculture in the agrarian reform settlements, prioritizing collective organization of labour through cooperatives of production, practicing an agriculture based in the intensive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and commercial seed varieties. Thanks to the growing international connections of the MST, that paved the way for the creation of Via Campesina, and to the proximity to ‘militant technicians’ coming mainly from the agronomy student movement, in the end of the 1990s, MST resumed its dialogue with alternative agriculture strands, particularly with agro-ecology, campaigning for an agriculture based on principles of environmental conservation and valorization of the peasant way of life.

Citation

Lerrer, D.F. and Medeiros, L.S.d. (2014), "Food Sovereignty and Struggle for Land: The Experience of the MST in Brazil", Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-135. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1057-192220140000021010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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