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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
Title Is organic agriculture a viable strategy in contexts of rapid agrarian transition? Evidence from Cambodia
Volume 4
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 131-147
This paper draws on evidence from a field study of
three organic agriculture development projects in
Cambodia to look critically at the pursuit of
organic agriculture as a rural development strategy
in a context of rapid agrarian transition. I find that
organic agriculture is a successful strategy for some
households to improve the viability of land-based
livelihoods as part of broader livelihood strategies,
particularly within projects most closely aligned
with an agroecological understanding valuing
diversity and farmer knowledge. However, there
are inherent contradictions in prescribing northern,
market driven notions of farming success into the
very different cultural and ecological settings of the
Global South, and certification requirements,
resource constraints and labor requirements can
exclude some farmers. I argue that analysis of
organic-farming as a rural development strategy
needs to understand not just the direct economic
returns, for the non-economic aspects, the broader
socio-political contexts of uneven agrarian
transition, and the ideology and practices of
development agencies have a large bearing on the
poverty reduction potential of organic farming.

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