Agostina Costantino

Biography

Agostina Costantino is an Argentinean economist, graduated from a public university (National University of the South -UNS). She completed her Master’s Degree in Social Sciences (2012) and my PhD in Social Sciences Research from FLACSO in Mexico City (2015). During my PhD, I made a research stay at ICTA, at Autonomous University of Barcelona. I returned to my country, after almost 6 years, under a program of repatriation of scientists at the end of 2015. Since June 2017, I am a researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina, and teacher at UNS.

Abstract

Land grabbing and food security in Argentina. Tensions between neoliberalism and neo-developmentalism

Since the late nineteenth century, Argentina has often been called the “world’s breadbasket” due to its ability to produce grain and other foods. In the same vein, the media and many political leaders often state that “we can” feed millions of people. However, Argentina’s food outlook has worsened in recent years. Objectives related to food security and food sovereignty cannot be achieved simply through a country’s ability to produce food, nor can they be achieved through simply the free play of market laws.Since the late 1970s—and more rapidly since the 1990s—Argentina has experienced a deregulation of markets in general, and food markets in particular, resulting in increased vulnerability for small producers, price liberalization and the complete disappearance of a great deal of the production supplying local markets. This set of measures is part of a new pattern of accumulation oriented towards the production and export of primary and manufactured goods based on natural resources (including food). Beginning in the 2000s, the intensification of this model gave rise to a phenomenon that also began to occur in other dependent countries: land grabbing, understood as the form taken by the historical process of land concentration within the context of the opening of foreign accounts and the free mobility of international capital. This phenomenon led to the expropriation of millions of hectares, which passed into the hands of foreign investors or governments. One of the most important dimensions that characterizes the process of land grabbing in Argentina during the 2000s refers to the objectives of the investors. This is because this dimension allows us to visualize how this phenomenon may be affecting the country’s food sovereignty. The concept of food sovereignty was promoted refers to the right of peoples to decide on their own food and production system. The aim of this paper is to show the effects that this pattern of accumulation had on food security in Argentina. At the same time, we consider the potential effects of the phenomenon of land grabbing on food sovereignty (understood as the ability to decide what food is produced, how and by whom) in the long term.

Affiliation: National University of the South