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Understanding mechanisms and consequences of intra-territorial inequalities: Collective and state dynamics in the emerging horticulture value chain in northeast Namibia

Authors: Carolin Hulke*, University of Cologne, Javier Revilla Diez, University of Cologne, Institute of Geography
Topics: Economic Geography, Development, Rural Geography
Keywords: rural development, Namibia, intra-territorial inequalities, horticulture value chain
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Explaining uneven development within regions and impacts on livelihoods affected by these inequalities are pressing concerns in economic geography. In the midst of such debates, we unpack mechanisms of national development policies to enable the emergence and formalization of horticulture value chains, thus supporting bottom-up livelihood strategies in Namibia┬┤s periphery. In the Namibian context, intra-territorial inequalities resulted from various conflicting land-use requirements on communal land, especially between crop farming and nature conservation and tourism. Through combining the dis/articulation and Evolutionary Geographical Political Economy perspectives, we tackle the question: How do mechanisms of dis/articulation of one path enable new regional path organisation and to what extend can protectionist policies support these? These relations are exemplified by the case study of the Zambezi region. Our results, based on in-depth qualitative data from 2018/2019, show that although the government is protecting the domestic market for fresh produce through production forecasting and border-closing, horticulture farmers on communal land still face several market-related insecurities in their daily activities. As a reaction to these insecurities, communal farmers organise production and marketing collectively. Therefore, formalized market channels develop, e.g. through regional contract farming schemes with supermarkets. The findings can be applied in broader political debates on how new sustainable agrarian pathways in peripheral regions can be made, considering the potential of bottom-up collective action compared to governmental facilitation. Hence, shedding light on consequences of intra-territorial inequalities is key in firstly bringing peripheries closer to core areas and their markets and secondly counteracting increasing societal discontent.

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