Dependant Reproduction of Alternative Modes of Agriculture: Organic Farming in New Zealand
Coombs, Brad; Campbell, Hugh
Recent studies of organic agriculture are characterized by an assumption that it is relatively easy for agribusiness to transform the meaning of organic food and marginalize the position of small-scale organic producers. In this paper, it is argued that such studies pay insufficient attention to the contradictions and limitations of capitalist agriculture as established in recent and classical formulations of the agrarian question. Attempts to liberate international trade and globalize the food system, which are particularly evident in New Zealand, result in disruption of food security and quality, so the agrarian question remains central in contemporary agri-food research. Tempered by biological conditions and associated with alternative social groups, organic production is strongly influenced by those forces which comprise the agrarian question, so attempts by agribusiness to manipulate the organic industry are fraught with contradiction. Research findings from four regional case studies in New Zealand show that small-scale organic producers are persistent, despite the increasing involvement of agribusiness in organic agriculture.
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Rights Statement: ©1998 European Society for Rural Sociology
Keywords: Organic agriculture; New Zealand; food exporting; corporate agribusiness; capitalist agriculture
Research Type: Journal Article