Authors: Anke Kaulard*, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Topics: Political Geography, Latin America, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: coca, cocoa, value chain, productive transformation, ecology, state
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
The "Miracle of San Martín" in the Peruvian Amazon is a metaphor that is well known nationally and internationally, for the recovery of state order in a region that has been convulsed by terrorism and drug trafficking. I focus on the process of "alternative development" that symbolizes the eradication of coca produced for drug trafficking through the implementation of cocoa chains, and - particularly - organic and fair trade chains. Based on field work in the area since 2002, I argue that the construction of organic/fair trade cocoa chains, perceived as relatively successful, has been possible due to the confluence of two processes, one domestic and a global one that found a "fertile ground" in some provinces of the region, while in others it did not. Productive transformation has been possible not only because of the development of territorial expert capacities, but also because of a "glocal embeddedness", with few "frictions" (Lowenhaupt Tsing 2005), i.e. a consensus on the ecological and economic model, and at the same time high dependence of local actors of the welfare State, transnational corporations and International Cooperation. In contrast to other common models of explanation of the "Miracle", this research "brings back the state in" (Skocpol 1985), as an influential actor in ecology and economics, by intelligently weaving "glocal" networks. It is not only relevant to analyze the national State, but also the subnational governments of this "Cocoa Miracle", particularly their role in the construction of a narrative that I shall call "sustainable productive ecology".