«by Kirsten Francescone A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the ...»
Comacho, “...[en la LRPCA] hay palabras muy bonitas, pero el primer sentim iento que he sentido, he dicho, ;no pucha! es mas discurso digamos, ^no? Por que el otro era tres hojitas, pero te plantea las decisiones.” The new law was in fact heavily loaded with general guidelines, and lacked clear political policies or strategies, resembling m ore closely the NCPE than a law. Upon closer analysis it appeared as though the LRPCA opened up too many opportunities for transnational capital on the one hand,1 2 and for the stimulation and expansion o f OECOMS on the other.1 3 And this occurred without adequately addressing persisting problems o f latifundios and alienated labour. What happened during the second phase o f the process which contributed to such significant changes in the essence o f the law?
When the tri-council was assembled to re-work the law the aforementioned ministries also met with the capitalist agro-industrial sector, representatives from A NAPO and CAINCO1 4 o f the cruceiio lowland region. Despite the fact that the agro-industry, especially in Santa Cruz, presently represents nearly half o f Bolivia’s agricultural production,1 5 it cannot be forgotten that those interests represent a clearly elite capitalist class interest, which primarily produces cash crops, and agro-fuels. In fact, Eduardo Paz, the president o f CAINCO in June o f 2011, applauded the Morales’ adm inistration when referring to the new LPRCA saying, “el gobiemo ha expresado su disposicion a 102 Villegas, “A nalisis de la LRPCA.” 103 Araujo, L ey de R evolucion P rodu ctiva A gropecuaria.
104 The Camara de lndustria, Comercio, Servicios y Turismo de Santa Cruz is an institution known for not only it’s capitalist agro-industrial m odel o f agricultural developm ent w hich includes it’s solicitation o f transgenic seed developm ent research projects.
105 In 2009, Crucena production amounted to 42% o f national agricultural production (majorly cash crops like Soya and Sugar). See: Centro B oliviano de Econom ia (CEBEC), Estudios E conom icos "El a p o rte de Santa Cruz a B olivia: A spectos Socioeconom icos" (CAINCO: Santa Cruz, 2008).
considerar y analizar el tema de la biotecnologia para su aplicacion al proceso productivo boliviano. Es un avance importante.”106 Despite the Morales A dministration’s attem pts to defend the LRPCA and genetically modified organisms (in light o f popular protest), to date Bolivia continues to see increased collaboration with CAINCO and A N APO, both organizations that collaborate with companies involved in genetic seed m odification and innovation.
It was popularly argued that the government was actually making concessions to the agro-industrialists (crucena, and transnational) w ith the LRPCA. This becam e a m aterial reality when it was announced that the governm ent would guarantee crediting not only small and medium agricultural businesses but that funding for agro-industrialist would benefit as well, to increase production. On September 1st, 2011, president M orales attended the Foro Economico Intemacional Produciendo Alimentos para Bolivia y el Mundo organized by CAINCO. Here, he congratulated the Santa Cruz agro-industry for compiling a report that would “be beneficial for all Bolivians.” Not only did he express verbal support, but also backed up the speech with the promise of national funding for large-scale productive enterprises, “...p o r primera vez en la historia hay creditos para los pequenos y medianos productores, pero tambien tenemos disponibles casi 200 m illones de dolares para el gran empresario agroindustrial.” 1 7 This is paradoxical. Within the LRPCA, state crediting appears under the heading o f the Fondo Creditico Comunitario (FCC), which is created, in order to provide financing 106 SOMOS SUR, La Ley d e la Revolucion P rodu ctiva, 2011.
107 Araujo, L ey de Revolucion P rodu ctiva A gropecuaria.
opportunities for state recognized OECOM s1 or small-producers. However, this does not prevent large producers from benefiting from the state subsidized “areas estrategicas” which include infrastructure, machinery, genetic resources (which include seed research
consumption.1 0 Therefore, despite the fact that the LRPCA contains language that ensures that crediting and subsidies will prioritize small-scale producers, the agro industrialists are receiving 200 m illion dollars. Beyond the simple presence o f crediting, one also has to question the ways in which, in the event o f failure to m ake payments on credits, those debts will be resolved? Will campesino-indigenous producers be made to forfeit their land to the government or to private crediting firms? Who will then have access to that land? As we saw in chapter one, this process lead to increased consolidation of land tenancy, plus a squeezing o f the already scarce resources available to campesino and indigenous communities.
If what La Decada envisioned was to encourage small-scale community based production, why then were these actors invited to participate, when there are clear
Reform o f 1953, which increased state crediting for agro-industrialists m aking it m ore 108 OECOMS have to be recognized through their registration with the state as a organizacion econom ico communitario, which is essentially sm all-scale productive businesses. S ee Article 51.
109 In a com m issioned CArNCO report on agricultural production in Santa Cruz com pleted in 2008, the CEBEC argues that the continued large-scale agro-industrial production “se ha visto acom panado por una serie de mejoras e innovaciones tecnologicas, com o la siembra directa o el mejoramiento de sem illas, que hace de Santa Cruz de la Sierra un centro de apoyo y servicios a las diferentes zonas productoras del Departamento.” CEBEC, E studios E conotnicos, 15.
110 Article 7.8.
111 Here I am im plying that the contradicting interests are actually those between the vision for the La Decada and that o f agro-industrial industrialists. I am not, however, trying to imply that these interests did not have com m onalities, that is to say com m on capitalist interests.
difficult for small producers to produce, obtain credit, and compete in markets? Did this not lead to a further unequal distribution o f economic and political power, and strengthen the elite class in the lowland regions?
If the objective o f the Bolivian state is in fact, to increase food sovereignty, work towards eliminating the food crisis, and strengthen small-scale agricultural production then w e should see that reflected in the law itself which is the present exemplar o f political movement. Further, we should also see it reflected in the forms of production that presently exist, given that the MAS has held the presidency since 2005. The LRCPA argues that the law will work towards ensuring that the Bolivian population has access to food"2 emphasizing the importance o f products that are consumed daily by B olivians."3 According to the FA O ’s most recent databases, out o f the top 20 agricul tural products produced in Bolivia in 2009 soy production was the second highest product produced with 1,499,380 MT produced that year, second only to cattle meat. Comparatively, wheat production that year held the 13th position w ith 239,367 MT produced (see Table 1).
Furthermore, between the years 2005-2009 o f the top twenty agro-exports, soy products (soybeans, soy cake, and soybean oil) m ake the top 5 in 4 out of the 5 years (See Table 2). The majority of soy produced in Bolivia is produced in Santa Cruz. Bolivians do not consume soy, nor can they consume many o f the soy-by -products.
Upon saying this however, in terms o f economic capitalist export-oriented production, small-scale production is simply not profitable for foreign capital. And so, the question must be asked what is at stake? I f 42% o f Bolivia’s agricultural and wood production comes from the department of Santa Cruz it is a large economic stakeholder in the ways in which agriculture continues to expand in Bolivia. Since agricultural production in Santa Cruz is now almost entirely industrialized (as we saw in Chapter One) we m ust then ask to what extent foreign and international stakeholders are also influencing this movement from imagined small-scale production and national food sovereignty to industrialized export-production.
The Canadian government also has a role in the supporting industrial agricultural production in Bolivia. Specifically, it is interesting to note a recently funded project by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), “Supporting Agro-Industrial Production and Exports”(#A034923-001). The total funding from CIDA is $ 12,250,000 and has been approved for 2010-18. According to CIDA’s website114 the project is focused at “strengthening Bolivian entrepreneurial, technical and m anagerial capacity for the cultivation, processing and distribution”, and despite the fact that this program will “involve poor rural families in the production process,” 70% of the projected funding is directed directly to the Agro-Industries, with the other 30% spreading out over education, training, research and inputs.1 5 The existence o f the Comunidad Andina de Naciones providing regional m arkets for soy1 6 and expanding foreign soy-import markets in Asia makes Bolivia a prim e hotbed for capitalist agro-industrialists to set-up shop. This is especially relevant in the crucena region where approximately 29% o f the department is still forested,1 m aking it a prime location for financial speculation and foreign investment.
As such, it has been noted that national and transnational companies, primarily but not exclusively Brazilian, are buying up land whenever they can.1 8 114 There is actually no project information available by the executing agency “S O C O D E V I.” 115 See more project information online at:
http://vvww.acdi.cicki.gc.ca/ClDAW EB/cpo.nsf/vW ebCSAZEn/A94 9 3 3 8 2 8476C 1 8 2 8 5 2 5 7 7 F 2 0 0 3 C 9 4 8 7 116 Gustavo M edeiros, ‘‘Evolucion y Caracteristicas del Sector Soyero en Bolivia,” in: Los B arones d e l O riente: El P oder en Santa Cruz A ver v H ov (Santa Cruz : Fundacion Tierra, 2008).
117 Ministerio de Desarollo Productivo, A tlas d e P o te n c ia lid a d P rodu ctiva : Santa C ruz (La Paz :
M inisterio de Desarollo Productivo, 2009), 119.
u8This is why the controversial highw ay project San Ignacio de M oxos- Villa Tunari w as such an important geopolitical and econom ic m ove for the Brazilian governm ent and transnational U R SA. In com pleting the highway they w ould have connected the major routes required to connect them directly to the pacific coast to ship Soya to China. See: Urioste, C oncentracion y extranjerizacion: and V illegas, “Analisis de la LRPCA.” Beyond the presence o f multinational and transnational interests, Bolivia still maintains an active relationship with large neo-colonial financial organizations o f the past. Recent foreign capital investment projects by the World Bank, and the Inter American Development Bank clearly target agricultural production. The 2011 Agricultural Innovation and Services Project funded by the W orld Bank for example totals 39 million US dollars o f credit to the Bolivian government over five y ears19(project total cost is
52.90 million). This project outlines its objective o f “...the improvement o f TNIAFs research and ITMIAF's core research capacity, the improvement of INIAF's provision and coordination o f technical assistance, the consolidation o f the national seed system, and the management o f national genetic resources.” 12 Bolivia has a very particular histoiy with foreign investment, especially from its previous partnerships with the W orld Bank during the Structural Adjustment Reforms that resulted in the complete collapse o f the mining industry. According to Omiachea the M A S’ land politics really have not changed substantially from those imposed by the World Bank and IFls in the 1990’s.'2' The LRPCA does not discourage or discount the possibilities for foreign investment; in fact it outlines the ways in which the Bolivian State will “celebrar convenios, acuerdos de cooperation tecnica y operativa con las instancias institucionales publicas, privadas, nacionales o internacionales.” 1 2 In the past increased foreign “collaboration” lead to economic dependency and collapse. It was also explicitly m et with popularized 119 The Danish and Sw iss governments are covering the rem aining difference.
120 In the official report summary, it is argued that goal o f the project should be reinforcing the institutional INIAF “el enfasis durante el periodo del proyecto estara necesariam ente en la con secu cion de beneficios institucionales mas que en beneficios posibles en las condiciones de vida y la productividad para la poblacion rural.” Ibid, 12.
121 Ormachea, R evolucion A graria o C onsolidacion d e la via terra ten ien te, 106.
122 Article 33.7.
resistance, which, as we will explore later, has again emerged in response to this law, and the position o f the MAS in regards to foreign capital at present.
Thus, it would appear as though the LRPCA would not in fact, serve to benefit smallscale ecological production with the end o f obtaining food sovereignty for Bolivia. Or, in the event that foreign investment projects attem pt to sell their investments by contributing to the “economic development” o f a select few Bolivians, as I have argued earlier, the promotion o f industrialized agricultural production has historically resulted in increased poverty, marginalization, and precarity.
As history has shown us, there are several ways that can exemplify the implementation o f industrial-capitalist production. The following sections will explore one o f the ways that the agro-industry’s continued expansion will be facilitated, through the legalization o f Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Here I demonstrate that not only is the GMO question an environmental one, but that it also reflects the dangers o f economic and political dependency and contracts the claim that small-scale/campesino production will be the solution to the Bolivian food crisis.