Table of Contents

Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food

Handbook of the International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food

Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series

Edited by Alessandro Bonanno and Lawrence Busch

This book tackles the central question of the political and structural changes and characteristics that govern agriculture and food. Original contributions explore this highly globalized economic sector by analyzing salient geographical regions and substantive topics. Along with chapters that investigate agri-food in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania, the book includes contributions that cover topics such as labor, science and technology, the financialization of agri-food, and supermarkets.

Chapter 1: The political economy of agriculture in Southern Africa

Elizabeth Ransom

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, environment, agricultural economics, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, political economy


Agriculture remains the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural populations of Southern Africa (Hachigonta et al. 2013). When focusing on the political economy of agriculture and food in the region, Europe and European legislation have played a dominant role in both the past and the present. All the countries under discussion were impacted by colonial rule, and at present there is a significant disparity between commercial and smallholder agriculture. While the disparity is one of the consequences of colonialism and South African apartheid policies in the region, this disparity is exacerbated by current European Union (EU) trade policies. With future challenges related to climate change, combined with declining EU market access and struggles to better integrate smallholders into income generating activities, the Southern African region is in need of a new map with which to navigate towards a future that ensures a vibrant agricultural sector.