Smallholders at Risk: Monoculture expansion, land, food and livelihoods in Latin America

Publication date: 23 April 2014
Author: Arantxa Guereña, Independent researcher and agronomist; Stephanie Burgos, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam America

Case studies of large-scale agricultural investment in Paraguay, Guatemala and Colombia show how monoculture expansion is displacing communities, undermining smallholder livelihoods and worsening local food security. Even when companies say they operate responsibly, their business model determines who bears the risks, who has access to capital and where market power lies. Responsibility should mean benefits and costs are fairly distributed and all rights upheld, including land rights. Private agricultural investment is needed, but it should complement rather than undermine smallholders, who are the main investors in agriculture.