Claudia Oviedo Rodriguez is a Mexican PhD candidate at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She studies how coffee policies influence the terms of participation of different types of farmers. She is interested in agrarian change analysis and theories of market dynamics with a sociological perspective. She worked as a consultant at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Her main responsibility was developing an internal socio-economic analysis. Apart from IFAD, she worked for RIMISP, which is a Latin-American Research Centre. She was part of a team that supported the Mexican government with the design of the methodology for an inclusive and productive policy.
Farmers’ Differentiation and Market Participation of Coffee Farmers in Mexico
This paper studies differences among coffee farmers in Mexico and the implications of these differences for market relations. The paper uses Bernstein’s questions of political economy concerned with the social relations of production and reproduction: a) Who owns what? b) Who does what? c) Who gets what? d) What do they do with it? This approach involves a sequence among the four questions: property relations shape social divisions of labour, which shape social distribution of income, which, in turn, shape the uses of the social product for consumption and reproduction. The paper is structured in two interrelated sections: (i) property relations and (ii) market participation. In the property relations section, the paper studies the relationship between different farmers and their labour. The second section of the paper studies how different farmers participate in the market. The markets of study are organic markets, multinational industries (with a special focus on Nestle), local intermediaries, and direct sales. The study pays attention to the role of quality, timing, price paid at every market, as well as the influence of the supply of credit. This paper argues that though differentiation is a classical theme, actors often tend to neglect the precise nature of differences, thus simplifying existing dynamics. It adds up that social differentiation is a condition for entering a particular commodity chain and that the commodity chain has an effect on (either reproduces or deepens) social differentiation. The paper aims to contribute with agrarian political economy theories to deepen our understanding of social differentiation and changes that are taking place. It also looks for a deeper understanding of the mechanism that allows or restricts a farmer’s beneficial participation in the market.
Affiliation: Wageningen University