Contested Global Landscapes

A Multidisciplinary Initiative of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences

Chair: Carlos Oya, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK
*Claudia Piacenza, University of Wageningen, Netherlands, Negotiating gender property 
relations over land: oil palm production in Kalangala district, Uganda
*Christophe Gironde, Asian Studies, Graduate Institute of International and Development
Studies, Switzerland, Rubber-tree boom in Cambodia: assessing small landholders enthusiasm
*Alex Dubb, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the
Western Cape, South Africa, Social reproduction, accumulation and class differentiation: smallscale sugar cane growers in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
*Dana Graef, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Yale University, Pathways of 
Transnational Collaboration in Promoting Small-Scale and Organic Agriculture in Latin 

This panel included three presentations on three different countries, crops and problematics: gender relations and oil palm in Uganda; outgrowers’ enthusiasm in embracing rubber-tree promotion in Cambodia; and the evolution in social reproduction, and differentiation among small-scale sugar outgrowers in South Africa. All papers presented a nuanced picture of incorporation of small farmers into agribusiness-led and state-led commodity chains with emphasis on differentiated impact across well-defined sub-groups. The audience probed the speakers about: the reliability of responses in the case of Cambodia and the extent to which farmers’ enthusiasm reflected lack of choice or underlying tenure insecurity; the extent to which the Ugandan experience in Kalangala could be seen as ‘success’ or not; and the wider implications of the decline of South African small-scale outgrowers for similar situations in other African countries. The speakers re-emphasised the contingent nature of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ in highly differentiated contexts, which also require a careful historical reading of the path towards currently observed outcomes.

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