Third Food Regime, Agribusiness Companies, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation: The Case Study Of Contract Farming In Antalya Kumluca-Turkey

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:06 PM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Zulkuf AYDIN , Politics and International Relations, METU Northern Cyprus Campus, Turkey
Rapid increase in the demand for high value export crops has been propelled by the needs of agricultural industries. Contract farming through which high value export crops are produced has been heralded as a ‘golden opportunity’ for producers for its ability to ensure optimal resource use and poverty reduction. This paper, based on a fieldwork carried out in Kumluca region of Antalya in the summers of 2012 and 2013, aims to challenge the contentions about poverty reducing and resource optimization impacts of contract farming.  It specifically questions the optimistic visions of the World Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture and Transnational seeds and agribusiness companies by arguing that under the ‘Third Food Regime’ developing countries’ countryside is being transformed in such a way that a new process of re-peasantisation is gradually underway.  Contract farming enables international capital not only transform the countryside to ensure the production of high value crops needed by agricultural industries and supermarket chains but also to take advantage of patriarchal cost calculation of peasants in the process of production. The empirical material collected in Antalya region in Turkey shows that contract farming has extremely complicated new forms of labour relations. Instead of using their own family labour contract farmers utilise share cropping arrangements with migrant farmers traditionally involved in grain production but no longer able to survive due to cuts in state support. The paper argues that greenhouse production of vegetables for import markets through contract farming arrangements utilises pre-capitalist forms of labour while using the most sophisticated production techniques and inputs controlled by transnational agribusiness firms. As such family labour of migrant workers is over-exploited while seed firms, local intermediaries and international supermarket chains manage to accumulate capital. Thus the claim that contract farming manages to mobilise the poverty reduction mechanisms is far from the reality.