The department is a lively community that is recognised internationally as one of the top centres for research and teaching in development studies.
Rethinking rural development: negotiation in agricultural and food systems
After many years of neglect, rural development is back on the development agenda. It is not only the key component of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and guerrilla group FARC, it is also a core element in a potential post-conflict era. Following the 2013-14 national agrarian strikes, both national and regional governments have initiated negotiations with peasant, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities that seek to address the government’s historical debt with the countryside. These negotiations have, for the very first time in many years, opened up a space for debating and negotiating different and often contrasting rural economy models and visions.
My research focusses on the negotiation of interests and agendas in the Colombian agri-food sector. Specifically, I analyse the extent to which these negotiations between multiple actors (peasants, governments, and private firms), located at different scales (local, regional, national), affect the productive aspects of the agri-food system – what is being produced, how it is produced and by whom – as well as the natural resource base on which these systems depend. To do so, I am conducting a cross-scale comparative analysis in three contrasting rural economies in Colombia: Nariño, Caquetá and Meta.