Puting national resources industries to work for sustainable development in Latin America
Putting Natural Resources to work forsustainable development in Latin America ANABEL MARIN CENIT/CONICET ARGENTINA
Two main questions• We are specially interested in understanding the potential that these alternatives have to transform the traditional ways of exploiting NRs, so that economic, environmental and social outputs are addressed.• Also, given that these alternatives are normally emergent and fragile,• We are also interested in understanding how well developed are the alternatives and the barriers for expansion, scaling up, replication.,
Presentation: main issues• Framing of our project: • important to connect our questions with the traditional concerns in the development agenda in LAC• The selection of cases: • how do empirically define transformative alternatives, niches, is not trivial?• Some “results”, issues that we have started to identify
AN HISTORICAL PROBLEM AND AN HISTORICAL SOLUTION IN LAC• A reality of LAC• We are heavily specialised NRs• NRs are problematic! (concentration, low inclusion, environmental damage, etc.)• A common view in LAC• We should tax them and incentive other sectors• BUT
It is realistic? REGION % Exportaciones PBI: Tasa de de RNs/ Total crecimiento (1970-2008) Latín America 70 1.64 Productores de 59 2.29RNs desarrollados Países en 30 4.77 desarrollo: Asia Economías 24 2 Maduras
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO THE SAME PROBLEM• Can we transform NR activities so they can best serve economic (resilience), social (justice) and environmental (sustainability) challenges in the region?.• Industries get transformed and re-structured through the development and growth of alternatives/niches, • or new projects which propose technologies and organisational practices that departure from the conventional ones.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO THE SAME PROBLEM• Within each industry• The dominant ways are the ones more widely spread that privilege from the mainstream, and are highly institutionalised, benefiting typically from a historic accumulation of technological, institutional, infrastructural and social supports.• The alternatives are practices that departure from these highly institutionalised ways of solving problems, promising better outputs• IF THEY PROSPER THEY CAN TRANSFORM, creating diversity or replacing
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO THE SAME PROBLEM• Three types of outputs: From what we know • Better social outputs when they promote social inclusion, in the process of decision making and in the benefits • Better environmental outputs when they promote a sustainable use of the NR taking into account care of [a] the danger of exhaustion of the non-renewable resources, [b] the destruction of ecosystems and [c] the threat of serious pollution of air, soil and • Better economic outputs, include promotion of diversification and linkages which would help to reduce the dependency of the resource
TRANSITION STUDIES• A central problem of research within the transition literature is to understand whether, and how: • we move from a relatively stable and incrementally innovating dominant ‘regime’ of socio-technical configurations (e.g. the one used to produce soya), • Which is problematic • towards much more economically integrated, environmentally sustainable and socially just regimes.
TRANSITION STUDIES• Niches (for us alternatives) play a key role in transforming dominant regimes.• They are spaces of “innovation”, that offer better results and typically have protection from the selection conditions in the regime • important because they foster learning processes and the space to build the social networks that support innovations.
TRANSITION STUDIES• These niches sometimes manage to challenge the dominant regime, providing feed backs into the dominant system helping to improve it. Path repairing• Whereas in other cases, the niches may aim to entirely replace the ST regime (Geels, 2002). Path breaking
TRANSITION STUDIES: CHALLENGES: ADAPTATION• 1) The focus of this research has been very much influenced by European concerns:• On ‘transitions, from one system to another, such as the move from fossil-fuel energy sectors to low carbon energy sectors. • We are interested on diversity and co-existence, as well as on transitions: • To Avoid lock-in through a diversity of niche options • Make it possible to learn from multiple pathways
TRANSITION STUDIES: CHALLENGES: ADAPTATIONThe problem for us is not so much which pathway is best for everyone but rather• How innovations developed in diverse settings and networks serve different constituencies, ensure people are not excluded from a dominant trajectory and ‘move about’ or help underpin a broader set of capabilities,
TRANSITION STUDIES: CHALLENGES: ADAPTATION• 2) Niches are usually conceptualised as radical innovations and the focus has been mostly on technical innovation • For us is very important to adopt a very broad view of innovation, as departing from current practices, even though is not novel, and including social as well as technical innovations
HOW DO WE IDENTIFY ALTERNATIVES?• Problems in the dominant open windows of opportunity for alternatives• First, we characterised the existing dominant trajectory in each case (e.g. Amazonia: coal production)• Second, we identify the economic, social and environmental problems associated with this trajectory.• Third, we identify alternatives as those projects/ ventures that address some or all of the problems identified in the dominant trajectories.
Product 8Characteristics of networks 6 Process 4 2 Project 1 Market orientation 0 Technology Project 2 Project 3 Knowledge Type of Agent Geographical Zone
DATA• We use a ‘maximum variability’ case.• We use secondary data to characterise the dominant regime• Carry out interviews to companies and key informants• Conduct focus groups with producers, consumers, civil servants, NGO’s representants
THE DOMINANT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM IN ARGENTINA MAIN FEATURES• Technical and organisational aspects• Extensive, and Input intensive: • Transgenic seeds • Biocides • Fertilizers:• Contratists organise production• Market driven – low state intervention• Export oriented
THE DOMINANT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM IN ARGENTINA MAIN CHALLENGES• Concentration!! • Economic: in large farms, between 1992 and 2002, 87.688 farms disappeared, small and medium (300000) • Of activities: soybean (a commodity) area has increased at the expense of dairy, maize, wheat, fruit and livestock production, • Of knowledge: a few MNcs control most technology embodied in the inputs (GM seed, herbicides).
EXAMPLES, CONCENTRATION OF ACTIVITIES• 2003/2004 , 13.7 million hectares of soybean were planted but there was a reduction of 2.9 million hectares in maize and 2.15 million hectares in sunflowers, among others.• The area before dedicated to cotton drop 12 times, the area dedicated to cattle lost 13.5 millions in the Pampas, and 30% of dairy farms disappeared.• The cattle production lost 3 million units, the potato harvest fell between 1997/98 and 2001/2 from 3.4 million tons to 2.1 millions, green peas from 9.000 tons to 1.800 tons, lentils from 9.000 to 1.800 tons
THE DOMINANT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM IN ARGENTINA MAIN CHALLENGES• Low creation of employment in the country side, 2 workers per 1000 hectares• Environmental damage (deforestation, high consumption of water and energy, soil destruction)• Health risks, Caused by the use of the herbicide, and the use of GM in food
THE DOMINANT AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM IN ARGENTINA MAIN CHALLENGES• Examples of environmental damage • Soil erosion: A a strong decline in soil fertility, turning some of them unusable (Altieri & Pengue, 2006). For example, the continuous nutrients extraction needed in the soybean harvest might lead to heavy nitrogen and phosphorus scarcity that will limit the soil productivity (Pengue, 2001). • Deforestation: For example, in Chaco, Argentina, 118.000 hectares have been dismounted in 4 years (1998-2002) to produce soybean, 160.000 in Salta and 223.000 in Santiago del Estero (Altieri & Pengue, 2006). • Loss of species and biodiversity: Argentina is a country with medium biodiversity, that has the second largest South American ecosystem, the Gran Parque Chaqueño, with more than 1 million km2 size. The soybean expansion is seriously threatening the country´s biodiversity (Pengue, 2010).
ALTERNATIVES?• Four Different kinds:• Coopsol: a co-operative of organic honey producers in the north• The Agroecological co-operative of Chaco: agroecological cotton producers• AFA, Agricultores Federados Argentinos cooperative that produces and industrialises crops from the “pampa húmeda” region. 33000 associated• Don Mario: a seed producer that follows an alternative trajectory to improve seeds, as compared with the dominant firms in the sector
ALTERNATIVES: THE CASE OF COOPSOL• Coopsol: associative venture that produces organic honey (and other agricultural products) in a non Pampean region • Santiago del Estero, a province with high poverty indexes, weak productive system and high emigration rates. It was created in 1992, has 14 associates and works with 100 producers, 38 of whom have 1.390 organic certified hives,• The consortium associates more than 150 families and export part of its production to foreign markets, like Italy.• Apart from the organic certification, they also achieved the “FairTrade” certification.
ALTERNATIVES: THE CASE OF the Cooperative Agroecological del Litoral”• The agroecological cooperative of cotton producers it is a member of the Solidarity Textile Chain, a fair trade initiative• It associates more than 50 families of small cotton producers• They pay betwen10 and 20% more to small producers for the cotton• Assure a market of the producers and sell half of its production abroad
Coopsol and the Agroecological venturewhy “path breaking”?• Substantial differences regarding the dominant:• Products different to the undifferentiated industrial crops, DIVERSIFIED• Process and technology, agroecological/organic principles, fair trade• Knowledge, dispersed, less concentrated, the whole project is about diffusing knowledge, better environmental impact• Geographical: poor areas in the north• Type of agents and industrial organization: associations of very small producers, inclusive: it creates more work, and in the poorer areas
PATH REPAIRING ALTERNATIVES:• Agricultores Federados Argentinos is a first level cooperative founded in 1932, located in the heart of the “pampa húmeda” region.• The cooperative is known for having one of the largest capacities in the country to originate grains, gathering an order of 3.400.000 annual tons.• Facturación 1,4 millones de dólares años (70 % cereales y 30% industrial);• 33 mil socios; cubre mas o menos el 5% de los granos del país
PATH REPAIRING: EXAMPLES UNDER STUDY• A Seed producer: • Don Mario, produces seeds of high quality for the domestic market following a non transgenic trajectory (30% of the Argentinean market) • It sells transgenic seeds, but has chosen to improve seeds not using transgenic with excellent results
AFA and Don Mario: Why path repairing?• Less differences regarding the dominant:• Products different to the undifferentiated industrial crops, DIVERSIFIED• Process and technology, similar and different• Knowledge, concentrated• Geographical: rich areas• Type of agents and industrial organization: associations of very small and large producers, inclusive: it creates more work, and in the poorer areas
Can these alternatives help to transform the sector?• Yes!• All of them create diversity and learning • All of them offer exelent examples of how the activity can be organised in a completly different way, with better social and environmental outputs, and a reasonable economic output
Can these alternatives help to transform the sector?• However there are differences between the less and more radical:• The less radical alternatives, even though they create diversity, and improve some of the problems of the dominant, they can reinforce the problems that the dominant is creating in terms of: • Environmental damage, • Social inclusion:
QUESTIONS EXPLORED• Which are the main barriers that block that the more radical alternatives to become more widespread?
BARRIERS TO GROWTH, AND REPLICATE• Economic 1 (Macro): The economic importance of the dominant system for the Argentinean economy • Huge contribution to taxes and external currency • Argentina is now the second world exporter of crops, the first world exporter of soy and sunflower oil, flowers and pellets. • Around 30% of all exports, • The direct contribution to tax revenue is 8% (Argentina tax exports of all its agricultural products heavily). • ANYTHING THAT CHALLENGE THIS SECTOR, BY FOR INSTANCE REGULATING SPRAYING IS SEEN AS CHALLENGING THE ENTIRE ECONOMY
BARRIERS TO GROWTH, AND REPLICATE• Economics II (micro). Input intensive monocrop, solutions are simple (in a manual), and proved, and in the short term • Efficient: they allow the earning of high yields and costs reduction• because they benefit from scale economies and positive network externalities • All MNCs and domestic firms in the GM business, have very well developed extension systems to spread the technology
BARRIERS TO GROWTH, AND REPLICATE• Existing Capabilities mostly related to the dominant regime, e.g. agronomists mainly provide advice about input intensive solutions, do not know much about• Existing Infrastructure. e.g. machineries can only be used in organic if clean.. but they are mostly contaminated
BARRIERS TO GROWTH, AND REPLICATE• Institutions. Government regulations and subsidies, associations, etc. • IPR regulations in Arg. have been designed to protect the interests of the MNCs in the business but not to promote and protect access to and diffusion of knowledge • The Ministry of Agriculture is 99% committed to the dominant regime, alternative practices such as organic, occupy a marginal place, or are treated in assistance plans • INTA sees organics and agro economic practices as providing valuable knowledge for the dominant, but not as alternative options
BARRIERS TO GROWTH, AND REPLICATE• Politics and power. Incumbents important positions in the current system. • The Argentinean agricultural system assures that the voices of big business are heard by providing companies, such as Monsanto, Singenta, Dow and Bayer a place in the discussions of Conabia (the main body responsible for GM approvals). • There are at least three of four large associations, exclusively dedicated to promote the use of ZT technologies and GM seeds