Zapata's Revenge: Free Trade and the Farm Crisis in Mexico

By Tom Barry | Go to book overview

Five
THE EXPORT SOLUTION

"Nowhere in the mountain villages of the campesino economy does one see the kind of misery and exploitation that farmworkers suffer in modern agriculture regions. The wealthier a region is, the poorer are its peasant workers. Just look at the miserable settlements that surround the richest valleys and irrigated zones of the country."

— Enrique Astorga Lira, Mercado de trabajo rural en Mexico:
Ya mercancía humana
( Mexico's Rural Labor Market: Human
Merchandise
), 1985.

Along with the increased importance of food processing, agroexport production is the other main pillar of the new internationalized agrofood system. Agroexports are not new in Mexico or in other less industrialized nations. Mexico has been exporting products to Europe and the United States ever since colonial days. What is new is that some of the world's most industrialized nations have also become major food exporters. The industrialized nations of Europe and North America now account for more than 60 percent of the world's total agricultural exports. The United States alone accounts for approximately 30 percent of world wheat exports and 60 percent of world corn exports. 1

Less-developed nations like Mexico, under pressure to pay off foreign debts and increase sources of foreign exchange, have prioritized agroexport production within their farm sectors. Having rejected former development models based on meeting expanding domestic demand with

-75-

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Zapata's Revenge: Free Trade and the Farm Crisis in Mexico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Zapata's Revenge - Free Trade and the Farm Crisis in Mexico *
  • Contents *
  • Tables *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction Zapata Lives 1
  • One Reform, Revolution, and Counterreform 11
  • Two Populists and Technocrats 35
  • Three the International Context 53
  • Four Nafta Pushes Agricultural Integration Forward 65
  • Five the Export Solution 75
  • Six Feeding Mexico 93
  • Seven the End of Agrarian Reform 117
  • Eight the People of the Land 129
  • Nine a Call to Arms 153
  • Ten on the Edge: Indians, Women, and Migrants 173
  • Eleven Sustaining Agriculture 199
  • Conclusion Lessons and Options 229
  • Notes 255
  • Glossary of Terms and Names 291
  • Appendix I U.S. Agribusiness in Mexico 293
  • Appendix 2: Nafta's Trade Effects on Selected Ag Products *
  • Selected Bibliography 297
  • Index 301
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