Food security and sovereignty

Authored by: Beth Bee

The Routledge Handbook of Latin American Development

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138060739
eBook ISBN: 9781315162935
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2003, thousands of campesinos marched in Mexico City’s Zócalo, the largest public square in the western hemisphere, declaring, “el campo no aguanta más” – the countryside can take no more. The march and subsequent social movement came to signify a critical moment for rural livelihoods, food security, and the pushback against decades of agricultural restructuring that marginalized rural producers; not only in Mexico, but throughout Latin America. Since that time, the world food crisis in 2007–2008 and the global financial crisis have posed further challenges to maintaining rural livelihoods and food security 1 throughout the region. More recently, issues such as climate change, biotechnology, and land grabs present new challenges to maintaining food security. In the face of such upheavals, the food sovereignty movement has come to the fore as several countries have adopted the language of food sovereignty in their national constitutions, although the results have varied considerably.

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