Edited by Guy M. Robinson and Doris A. Carson
Chapter 16: All you need is export? Moroccan farmers juggling global and local markets
The global production of fruit and vegetables is one of the most dynamic areas of global agriculture. As emerging high-value crops, fruit and vegetables occupy an important part of global agricultural trade; even perishable produce is increasingly shipped globally. The production of export crops, specialising in counter-seasonal supply, has especially been fostered in the Global South as a strategy to earn foreign currency. A broad body of literature has evolved focusing on the participation of farmers, particularly smallholders, in global markets together with the conditions and implications of their integration into export chains. It is an often implicit assumption of these debates that the integration into export markets would improve the situation of farmers in comparison to supplying national markets. This assumption can be unfounded, however, as can the equally common expectation that farmers would sell to global supply chains if they were able to. This chapter addresses the assumption of the ‘desirable export market’ by discussing empirical findings from a study in the Souss, Morocco’s main fruit and vegetable export production region. It is argued that export integration as such does not equal participation in gains, which rather depends on the conditions of integration. In most cases, the domestic market is of far greater importance for local farmers and the survival of family farming in Morocco. Export production has even had detrimental effects on the rural social landscape of the region, which ultimately calls the export strategy and its implications for rural development into question. This chapter contributes to a better understanding of the importance of different market segments for rural livelihoods in a globalised agricultural setting, while emphasising the need to challenge the desirable participation in export markets.
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