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Women constructing alternatives to rice production to maintain their land: a feminist political ecology approach

Authors: Natalia Landivar*, University of Manitoba
Topics: Food Systems, Gender
Keywords: land, feminist political ecology, food sovereignty, monocrops
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As part of the constitutional mandate, Alianza País governments have undertaken measures to guarantee gender-equitable distribution of land and equal gender participation. However, grassroots organizations of the Unión Tierra y Vida that took possession of land in the Hacienda Las Mercedes in the Guayas province in Southwest Ecuador, risk being displaced from their land due to the state failure in legalizing their land and the lack of public investment for the production of rice. Under this context, this empirically-based analysis will use a decolonial Feminist Political Ecology approach to explore the fundamental gender-differentiated changes in grassroots organizations generated by a public policy that aimed at meeting the food sovereignty constitutional goal. More specifically, in this paper I will look at the gender dimensions of rice production, one of the most locally consumed agricultural products in the country. Furthermore, I will look at gendered understandings and claims concerning the possible environmental effects caused by the production of rice in the Hacienda and other mono-crops such as sugar cane in surrounding areas that are highly dependent on chemical inputs. Finally, I will analyse the extent to which more gender-equitable participation and decision-making within organizations provide the conditions to construct alternative networks that foster sustainable and democratic food systems and the maintenance of the land. In doing so, the paper seeks to contribute to the discussion of the role of women in building food sovereignty and in the process, helps break down historical unequal and hierarchical power relations.

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