• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Literature review: Theoretical...
 Commercial banana plantation...
 Plantation worker component
 Small-scale farm livelihood...
 Environmental component: Certification...
 Assessing resilience in the...
 Summary, conclusions, and a vision...
 Appendix A. Summary outputs and...
 Appendix B. Small-scale farm input-output...
 Appendix C. Town dwelling worker...
 Reference
 Biographical sketch






Title: Linking sustainability, food security, and improved worker livelihoods in an Ecuadorian agrosocioecosystem
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081813/00001
 Material Information
Title: Linking sustainability, food security, and improved worker livelihoods in an Ecuadorian agrosocioecosystem
Series Title: Linking sustainability, food security, and improved worker livelihoods in an Ecuadorian agrosocioecosystem
Physical Description: xiv, 349 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Breuer, Norman E
Publisher: Breuer, Norman
Publication Date: 2003
 Subjects
Subject: Interdisciplinary Ecology thesis, Ph.D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Interdisciplinary Ecology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Ecuador
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Norman E. Breuer.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2003.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Printout.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081813
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 82996191

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Dedication
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    List of Tables
        Page x
    List of Figures
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Abstract
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Introduction
        Page 1
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    Literature review: Theoretical underpinnings of the study
        Page 30
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    Commercial banana plantation system
        Page 74
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    Plantation worker component
        Page 112
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    Small-scale farm livelihood component
        Page 153
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    Environmental component: Certification and the RPSC forest reserve
        Page 184
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    Assessing resilience in the agrosocioecosystem
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    Summary, conclusions, and a vision for the future
        Page 255
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    Appendix A. Summary outputs and agrosocioecosystem model
        Page 273
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    Appendix B. Small-scale farm input-output data and model example
        Page 282
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    Appendix C. Town dwelling worker data
        Page 311
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    Reference
        Page 329
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    Biographical sketch
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Full Text












LINKING SUSTAINABILITY, FOOD SECURITY, AND
IMPROVED WORKER LIVELIHOODS IN AN
ECUADORIAN AGROSOCIOECOSYSTEM














By

NORMAN E. BREUER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003















LINKING SUSTAINABILITY, FOOD SECURITY, AND
IMPROVED WORKER LIVELIHOODS IN AN
ECUADORIAN AGROSOCIOECOSYSTEM













By

NORMAN E. BREUER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003

































Copyright 2003

by

Norman E. Breuer
































To my wife Bea; and to my children, Norman III, Astrid, and Erik.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My deepest thanks go to the Chair of my committee Dr. Peter E. Hildebrand. Over

the past 4 years, he provided wisdom, counsel, and example. At the same time, I would

like to express my appreciation to the other members of my committee. The support and

insights of Drs. Hugh Popenoe, Clyde Kiker, Nigel Smith, Janaki Alavalapati, and

Ram6n Espinel were instrumental in keeping the often wayward track of my

interdisciplinary wanderings on course.

Financial constraints have been the norm of my life during my graduate studies.

Many institutions contributed to alleviating this condition, allowing me to push forward

with my endeavor. I am indebted to the following for their financial support: Food and

Resources Economics Department and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,

University of Florida; the Compton Foundation and the Center for Tropical Conservation

and Development Studies, UF; the Tinker Foundation; The Wong Foundation; Jos6,

Ver6nica and Michelle Breuer; and Mercedes, Francisco, and Bibiana Barriocanal.

So many people in Ecuador supported me that this expost listing is sure to be

plagued by inadequacies. I will start from the beginning, with the dynamic and sincere

Rafael Wong, whose meeting with Peter E. Hildebrand in early 2000 sparked the present

research. Dr. Lucila Pdrez, Executive Director of the Wong Foundations did everything

she could to provide me with adequate lodging and transportation. The following persons

at Reybanpac/Favorita Fruit Company provided comments, insights, and a helping hand:









Jorge Josse, Edgar Montero, Pedro Meza, Jorge Jativa, Mike Utley, Alexandra Jal6n, and

Fernando Torres, and others too numerous to list here.

Wong Foundation personnel at the Rio Palenque Science Center were the persons

with whom I interacted on a daily basis. For their encouragement and goodwill, I thank

each and every one of them. First and foremost is Leonardo Rodriguez. Venus Ar6valo

also helped me a great deal. Carlos Criollo introduced me to the area, its customs, and

people. I wish to express my appreciation to the small-scale farmers, plantation and

town-dwelling field workers, mothers, children, teachers and parents who opened their

minds (and very often, their hearts) to me. I was warmly received by the Paredes Crespo

family in Quito during my research sojourn in that beautiful capital city.

A man who has friends truly possesses a great treasure. I take this opportunity to

thank Matt Langholtz, an example of all good things meant by being American. Manuel

Avila kept me physically operating and mentally in tune with my homeland, Paraguay. I

especially thank my friend and colleague Victor Cabrera for being "un caballero" in

every sense of the word. I would like to thank Father John Gillespie and the community

at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Gainesville for providing a structure for my

spiritual functions and needs.

I cannot help but put in a word of thanks for my parents, Norman and Sacha. I

have no words to express my appreciation for the love, support, patience, and tolerance of

my one-in-a-billion wife, Bea; and my unique children Norman III, Astrid, and Erik. I

have been blessed in many ways in Gainesville, and I am thankful for this.





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TABLE OF CONTENTS
page

ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS................................. ............................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES.................................................................................. x

LIST O F FIG U R E S ........................................................................... xi

AB STRA CT ........................ ....................... .................................. xiii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................... .. .......... .... .. .. .. 1

Background...................... ....... ......... ...................... 5
Problematic Situation .................... ......... .. .................... 6
Researchable Problem .. ............... ......... ............................ ................. 18
Research A rea ........ .................. .............................................. 18
O objectives .............................................................. ..................................... 21
H ypotheses ................... .................. ......... ............... ....-....-- ................ ....... 22
M methods .................................. .............. ............ ....... 23
A analysis ........................ ..... .............................. ..... .................... 26
O organization of the Study ..................................................................... 26
Significance.......... .......................................... 28
2 LITERATURE REVIEW: THEORETICAL UNDERSPINNINGS OF THE
STUDY............................. ................................... 30

Sustainability .................................... ...... ... .... .. ................... 3 1
Resilience: A Concept, and Indicator, and an Emergent Property.......................... 33
System s A pproach............................................................................. 38
Agricultural and Agroecological Systems............................................ 41
Banana Dominated Agroecosystems.................................... ........................ .....45
Environmental Aspects of Certification and Forest Fragments ...................... 46
Modeling as an Analytical Tool............................... ...... ........................ 53
Linear Programming............................................................. 55
Ethnographic Linear Programming ............................................................. .... 57
Participatory Linear Programming..................... .............................................. 58
Linear Programming and Agriculture ................ ........................ 59
Linear Programming Applied to Farm Household Analysis ............................ 61



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Linear Programming and Sustainability........................................................... .. 63
Rural Development and Natural Research Management ................................... 67
Summary ....................................... : ....... ........................ ..................... 73

3 COMMERCIAL BANANA PLANTATION SYSTEM...................................... 74
Introduction..................... ......... .. ........................................................................ 74
Background ................................................................ 75
Banana Production in Ecuador............................................................................. 76
M methods ............................................. ... ............ .................... ...... ... 79
Importance of Bananas to the Ecuadorian Economy ........................................... 81
M markets ....................... .. ........................... ........ ......................... 83
Company Banana Haciendas ........................................... ......................... 84
Banana Production ................................................... 85
B anana C crisis ......................... .............................. ................................. 10 1
Strengths and Weaknesses in Commerce ......................................................... 103
M anagem ent............................... ..................................................................... 104
C certification ............................................................... ................. 107
Best- and W orst-Case Scenarios ....................................................................... 107
Linkages with the Agrosocioecosystem .................................................. 108
Sum m ary ................... .. ... .......... .. ............................. .... .... 111

4 PLANTATION WORKER COMPONENT..................................................... 112

Introduction ................................... ....... ........................................... ......... 112
M methods ....................................................................................................... 113
Background............. ................. ............... ...... ............................ 116
Food Security ..... ........... ......................... ............. 119
Types of W orkers................................ .... ... ............... ..... ............... 120
W hy they Cam e .................................................. .... ............... ............... 123
Life on the Plantation .................. ......... ..... ...... ........ ... 124
Women as Part of the Study Group: Some Qualitative Data................................ 127
Child Labor and Unionization................................. ............ 128
Life in Tow n ............................................. ........ ...................................... 131
A "Banana Worker Community?"....................... ... ......................... 135
Emigration, Security, Aspirations for the Future............................................... 139
Being Better off .................................. ........ ........ .. ......... 143
Summary and Discussion........................................ 146

5 SMALL-SCALE FARM LIVELIHOOD COMPONENT................................... 153

Introduction ............................ ................................. ..................................... 153
Complexity and Diversity within Livelihood Systems ................................... 156
M methods ............................................................ .. ................................ 157
Small-scale Farms in the Research Area .................. .................... 158
Livelihoods Aspects (off-farm )............................................... ........................ 160
Cropping System s .................................... .... ............... 164





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C rops........................ ............................................................................... 165
A nim al Com ponent ....................................................................................... 174
Opportunities/New Technologies........................................................................ 175 i
Analysis ................................... .................... .................... 179
Linkages to the Overall System .......................................................................... 179
Sum m ary ...................... ................................ .............................................. 181

6 ENVIRONMENTAL COMPONENT: CERTIFICATION AND THE RPSC
FOREST RESERVE ......................................... ........... ..................... 184

Introduction ................................................... ............................................... 184
M methods ............................................ ............................... .. .................... 185
Environmental Certification.......................................................................... 187
A Token Forest? .................... ............................. ...................... 200
A analysis ..................... ........ .............................................. 206
Linkages to the Agrosocioecosystem...................................................... 211
Resources and Lim itations.................................................................................. 214
LP A nalysis......................................................... ................. ......................... 2 15
Sum mary.................................... .................. .............................................. 215

7 ASSESSING RESILIENCE IN THE AGROSOCIOECOSYSTEM.................. 217 I

Introduction...................................................................... ................ 217
W orker Survey ................................................ ............................................ 2 18
H household M odels.............................................................................................. 220
Agrosocioecosystem M odel.............................................................................. 245
Science Center and Forest Reserve .............. ......................... 248
Sum m ary ................................................ .................. .......................................... 253

8 SUMMARY, FINDINGS, AND A VISION OF THE FUTURE......................... 255

Overview of the Study............ ... ... ............... ................................. 255
Summary of Findings ..................................... ........................ 257
Secondary Outputs ...................... ...................259
Vision for the Future ........................................................................ 261
Policy Implications ........................................... 267
Further R research ........................................ .................................................... 269
Lim stations of the Study ......................................... ... ............................. 270

APPENDIX

A SUMMARY OUTPUTS AND AGROSOCIOECOSYSTEM MODEL........... 273

B SMALL-SCALE FARM INPUT-OUTPUT DATA AND MODEL EXAMPLE. 298

C TOWN-DWELLING WORKER DATA........ .......................................... 311



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I LIST OF REFERENCES .................................................................................... 329
I BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................................................................... 349

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LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1. Banana area per province .................................................................................... 82

3-2. Banana exports from Ecuador ............................................................................. .... 84

3-3. Commercial banana data in Rio Palenque agrosocioecosystem area......................85

3-4. Fertilization on commercial banana plantations in Los Rios Province, Ecuador......91

3-5. Labor supply gaps calendar .................................................................................97

3-6. Banana prices at major export destinations and to grower......................................98

4-1. Categories, numbers, and percentages of workers surveyed.................................116

4-2. Mean responses to grouped perceptions questions..........................................150

4-3. T-test comparing food security and being better-off responses ............................150

4-4. T-test comparing food security and healthcare responses .......................................150

6-1. Plantation size and planted forest area .................................................................. 196

7-1. Mean responses to grouped perceptions questions.............................................219

7-2. Small-scale sample farm household data..............................................................228

7-3. Household composition of modeled small-scale farm households .........................229

7-4. Summary of small-scale farm model scenarios............................................... 230

7-5. Modeled town-dwelling worker household data .............................................235

7-6. Contribution of RPSC to agrosocioecosystem economic output...........................252
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1. Map of Ecuador and study area..........................................................20

1-2. Schematic of the study area...............................................................25

3-1. Banana exports vs. total exports in Ecuador..............................................85

3-2. Commercialization scheme used by an Ecuadorian commercial banana company
that operates in the study area...........................................................105

4-1. Responses to 16 worker perception survey questions...............................147

6-1. Schematic of biological corridors and potential location of small-scale farms on
their borders............................................................................... 186

6-2. Conceptual scheme of environmental fruit certification.............................. 189

6-3. Map of the Rio Palenque Science Center and Forest Reserve.......................205

7-1. Resilience of 32 sampled small-scale farm households to 14 shock scenarios......231

7-2. Resilience of 32 sampled town-dwelling worker household to 14 shocks .........238

7-3. Effect of 15 scenarios on discretionary cash, average discretionary cash, and
threshold of resilience...................................................................243

7-4. Town-dwelling workers. Effect of 15 scenarios on discretionary cash, average
discretionary cash, and threshold of resilience.........................................243

7-5. Land area needed for resilient small-scale farms....................................244

7-6. Resilience of ASES under several scenarios...........................................249

7-7. Earnings and income distribution in the ASES.........................................249

7-8. Earnings and distribution in the ASES including negative scenarios...............250

7-9. Economic output in the ASES under seven positive scenarios.......................250







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7-10. Effect of different science center and forest reserve uses on the ASES............253

8-1. Banana plantations including natural areas, and a forest reserve in the
agrosocioecosystem as it currently exists.............................................262

8-2. Phase 1. Corridor between plantation No. 1 and the Rio Palenque forest. Small-
scale farms line and protect the natural corridors....................................263

8-3. Phase 2. Corridor between plantation No. 1 and plantation No. 2. Small-scale
farms line and protect the natural corridors...........................................264

8-4. Phase 3. Corridor between plantation No. 2 and plantation No. 3. Small-scale
farms line and protect the natural corridors............................................265

8-5. Phase 4. Corridor between plantation No. 3 and plantation No. 4. Small-scale
farms line and protect the natural corridors.........................................266















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

LINKING SUSTAINABILITY, FOOD SECURITY, AND IMPROVED WORKER
LIVELIHOODS IN AN ECUADORIAN AGROSOCIOECOSYSTEM

By

Norman E. Breuer

May 2003

Chair: Peter E. Hildebrand
Department: College of Natural Resources and Environment



Ecuador is the world's largest banana exporter. On the Ecuadorian Coast an

important part of the population live as limited-resource farmers or as a large class of

landless rural plantation workers. Much agriculture in Ecuador depends heavily on hand

labor. However, many people are migrating away from the country, due to economic

crises and other factors.

This study presents an assessment of the current situation in a selected

agrosocioecosystem, by studying its principal components, their resilience, and what

economic output they provide. The study also assesses the benefits of remaining a small

farmer, as an alternative to migration. There are a limited number of livelihood options

in the study area. People can be small-scale farmers; town-dwelling, salaried-plantation

workers; live and work on plantations; or migrate. This lack of opportunity creates an

unstable social situation. Four components or sub-systems were studied: commercial







xiv


banana plantations; town-dwelling plantation workers; small-scale farmers; and nature

reserves.

Analysis was undertaken using Ethnographic Linear Programming (ELP), which

uses qualitative and quantitative data to estimate systems outcomes under several

scenarios. Elicited data were used to construct models. Households were subjected to

sudden shocks, and those able to best respond were said to possess higher socioeconomic

resilience.

The study found that small-scale farmers are more socioeconomically resilient to

shocks than town-dwelling plantation workers. Transferring households from the town

labor supply to small-scale farms improves economic output and adds resilience to the

system.

A rural workers survey revealed that small farms are perceived as the safest, most

food-secure place to live. In contrast, the sample population perceived schools and

clinics to be more accessible in towns.

Finally, the study concluded a nature reserve could add more socioeconomic

resilience to the agrosocioecosystem if it were used as a center for the creation and

dissemination of knowledge among local resource-limited farmers.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Introduction

In Ecuador, as in many other countries in the developing world, agriculture is

extremely important. It is important for food security, for foreign exchange, and as a

generator of employment. For the last half of the twentieth century, agricultural research

was concerned with raising production per unit area of major crops. Great strides were

made in this area. During this time, Ecuador managed to become the world's largest

banana exporter, a large exporter of shrimp, and the home of a flower industry that rivals

its neighbor to the north.

Advances were also made in field crops, especially maize, rice, and soybeans.

Local farmers are proud of these advances. "We are heroes of agriculture," stated a

maize and rice farm manager. He was referring to the fact that Ecuadorian producers

manage to keep on going in spite of the fact that they receive no subsidies. The global

environment in which agricultural production occurs today is not unknown to locals. "In

America and Europe, people get paid to be farmers!" Centuries of local agricultural

production knowledge, enhanced by 50 years of modern production research have

resulted in better yields, but large numbers of poor farmers.

The type of agriculture practiced in a large portion of Ecuador depends heavily on

hand labor. Yet today, people are leaving Ecuador in droves: landless peasants,

marginalized farmers, and professionals. Although from the outside, looking at macro

numbers, this mass emigration may seem positive in its overall effects on the economy -










remittances are now the second source of income for the country after petroleum-local

effects are strikingly negative. The rip in the family and social fabric, and upheaval of

traditional roles and practices that takes place when adult males and teens leave their

communities are difficult to mend.

In hindsight (a luxury we possess as researchers), there were perhaps three very

important oversights made in agricultural research in the second half of the 20th century.

These were, looking at components of agriculture as individual and not connected;

separating the biophysical features of agriculture from the socioeconomic milieu in which

it takes place; and decoupling production from natural resource management.

This is a study on people's interaction with the ecosystems that surround them. It

incorporates theories and methodologies from many different fields with the aim of

improving sustainability; food security and rural worker livelihoods in a 13,300 ha study

area. Agroecosystems design is used in an attempt to test if the introduction of slight,

adoptable changes regarding worker living arrangements, can improve resilience and

overall stability of the agrosocioecosystem within which they are immersed.

Human societies have always interacted with the ecosystems around them.

History is rife with examples of migration, conflict, and conquest resulting in part from

overuse of the resource bases on which human populations relied-fertile soil, lumber,

minerals, game-that had been depleted in original homelands.

Reasons for these changes are still being studied. Perhaps populations had mined

the soil, or maintained sustainable livelihoods over many generations, only to then crash.

They may have been resilient for long periods of time, and then internal or external forces









suddenly-or slowly and painfully-rendered what may have been excellent livelihood

systems unsustainable.

In some areas of the world, when population grew out of all reasonable

proportion, and global climate events negatively affected food production; upheaval,

famine and death on an unimaginable scale followed at fairly regular intervals. What had

once been highly sustainable systems became unsustainable. Shocks and stresses caused

whole nations to move into new sets of controls, to disappear, or to be conquered and

subjected by others. Often the new sets of controls were sought-and found-in a new

geographical location.

On planet Earth there is no place left to go, no new frontier, no promised land.

Sustainability must be sought in situ. Ecologists have long known that the struggle for

availability of natural resources is played out in nonhuman populations through

territoriality and competition. Habitat loss is unsustainable for most nonhuman

populations because they have a less ample capacity to learn, adapt, and manage.

Humans can learn and adapt; they have in the past, and they can now. Participation and

empowerment may be the keys for the potential of this new adaptive process. The human

species is typically resourceful and resilient. The advent ofglobalization, however,

introduces a whole new series of unforeseeable factors into the livelihood decision-

making process. Shocks are greater and more frequent than ever before.

All of the human populations just described were essentially rural throughout

their histories. Today, the world remains more rural than most realize. Modem

interventions, modem trends ofglobalization, economic inequity and indebtedness, and










worldwide climate change have altered many traditional systems or pushed them to the

edges of their geographical and spatial sustainability.

Increasingly, population growth drives the need for greater food production in the

world. This increase in food production must be sustainable. The prevailing system,

which uses enormous amounts of external inputs, must be gradually transformed into one

that uses land, water, and biodiversity more intelligently. This is even more critical on

marginal lands where much developing country agriculture takes place.

At the same time, rural communities everywhere have become more complex.

The problem of landlessness obliges us to include the plight of town-dwelling rural

workers in our search for solutions. There is an interface in modern rural landscapes

where the periurban and the rural overlap. Comprehension of the structure and function

of these multi-faceted communities at community, landscape, subregional, and regional

level, is needed. Finally, the complexity of these "agrosocioecosystems" requires a

multidisciplinary approach to rural development and natural resource management.

Preparing for worst-case scenarios is sound management. However, design and

management of agroecosystems can move beyond this task to preemptive design. With

this approach, it is possible to reduce the incidences of internal worst-case scenarios and

their associated risks. None of the adjustments in agroecosystems design and

management delineated in this dissertation are set in stone. In order for continuously

growing success, there must be a process of permanent adaptive management. This

process should include multiple stakeholders in a learning process that feeds back into the

system to adjust and improve the delineated alternatives, in response to changing internal

and external conditions. This could allow for adaptive management in the future.









It was my intention to examine a specific agrosocioecosystem for resilience by first

understanding, then analyzing it through modeling techniques. The type of resilience

analyzed was social and economic (socioeconomic resilience, hereafter). Responses to

internal and external shocks exerted on the several components of the system may point

out trends that can later be used as a basis for policy with implications at the national

level. According to the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research

(CGIAR) because of the biophysical and socioeconomic complexity of agroecosystems,

experimentation and hypothesis testing must increasingly be based on results of systems

analysis and modeling work; and so must extrapolation of results for location-specific

observations (Bouma et al. 1995).

Background

The total Ecuadorian population in 1970 was 5,970,000. In that year the

agricultural population was 3,201,000, which represented 53.6% of the total population.

In the year 2000-the most recent year for which data are available-the total population

of Ecuador was 13,184,000. The agricultural population for that same year was

3,480,000 (FAO 2002). As a percentage of the total population, in a pattern common in

the developing world, the agricultural population has dropped. Yet, when taken in

absolute numbers, nearly 300,000 more people are involved in agriculture today than 30

years ago.

Because of a series of economic crises, there is an urgent need for alternative

activities for small-scale farmers to produce cash without compromising food security.

Problems in the countryside are manifold.

The agrarian census of 2002 showed that cacao, rice, maize, bean, pineapple,

passion fruit, plantain, tomato, and bell pepper production have declined at an alarming









rate. The same is true for livestock production, including cattle, swine, and poultry.

Lack of credit has not allowed small-scale farmers to prepare their land for the rainy

season planting of short-cycle row crops. Furthermore, because of the crisis the country

is going through, many young people have emigrated to Europe and the United States.

During the economic chaos of the late 1990s, utility prices (especially the price of

natural gas with which most Ecuadorian families cook) were left to fluctuate freely. This

caused a rise in the price of the subsistence basket for both rural and urban families. As

there was not a concomitant rise in minimum wages, many families found themselves in

desperate economic straights. The direct result of this was mass emigration. It is

estimated that nearly one million left the country in the years 1999-2000 (SIISE 2002);

another 430,000 emigrated in 2001 alone'.

Three key elements justify the need for this study. First, large numbers of small-

scale, resource-limited farmers still exist in Ecuador and around the world. Second, the

current state of the Ecuadorian economy including the effects of globalization and

dollarization requires urgent attention. Finally, when the social implications of massive

out migration, both from the countryside to misery belts around large cities and to

overseas are taken into account, the need for the present study becomes apparent.

Problematic Situation

Until the 1970s, as much as 50% of Ecuador's foreign currency earnings came

from petroleum alone. During this time, major infrastructure projects were undertaken,

using loans from multilateral development agencies. In the 1980s, many of the loans

came to term, and Ecuador began to feel the squeeze of a growing service on its foreign

SThis notion is substantiated in an article from the Guayaquilan newspaper El Universo:
Beltrfn, B., 2002. Emigrantes confiesan que el trabajo en Espafia "no paga."
16 May 2002. Guayaquil, Ecuador









debt. Inflation began to rise at levels that were out of control during the mid to late

1990s. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund was pressuring for

liberalization and real exchange rates in Ecuador and other countries. As a response,

government controls were put in place to attempt to control the spiraling inflation. After

these efforts proved unsuccessful, and in a move widely considered to be one of

desperation, outgoing president Mahuad announced his intention to dollarize the

economy. President Noboa obtained the legislative authority for this initiative, which

was implemented beginning in March 2000 (O'Grady 2002, US Department of State

2000).

Gustavo Noboa became Ecuador's fourth president in four years. Newspapers

reported two people were killed and dozens injured on February 5th, 2001 when

Ecuadorian security forces clashed with Indian demonstrators protesting high gasoline

and transport costs. The Italy-sized nation of 13.2 million people was struggling to

consolidate political stability a year after a similar Indian uprising, backed by military

personnel, toppled the then president Jamil Mahuad. The increase in fuel prices

galvanized some 5,000 indigenous people to travel to Quito in protest. The South

American country is struggling through an economic crisis that saw it default on its debt

in 1999 and post the highest inflation in Latin American three years running. Only about

25 percent of Ecuadorians who want to work have a full-time job. The country's foreign

debt is equal to about 80% of its gross domestic product 2.

The government abandoned the Sucre as the national currency and adopted the

American dollar as a solution to its chronic economic problems. For Ecuador, adopting

the dollar was a way of imposing strict fiscal discipline, in effect, turning monetary

2 Reuters 2001.









policy over to the United States Federal Reserve Board. Other nations are considering

the shift for similar reasons.

But the transition appears to have been complicated by the country's poverty.

One of every eight Ecuadorians is illiterate, according to government figures, and in the

past those people have relied on the different colors in which denominations of the Sucre

were printed as a guide to the value of the notes.

Global Context

In a World Food Day globally televised interview on October 16t, 2002, Michael

Lipton, director of the Poverty Research Unit at Sussex University in England, described

the situation as follows. Seventy five percent of the 1.2 billion people living on less than

one dollar a day are in rural areas, where the economy is based on agriculture. Nearly

seven percent of the world's rural poor live in Latin America.

Whatever funds are still available for rural research will not contribute

significantly to poverty alleviation and the reduction in inequity, at least in the short term,

unless the rural poor are deliberately targeted. Essential steps include the creation of

employment for the land-poor and landless, increased production on small, medium, and

large-sized farms, provision of nearby input and output markets, and, recognizing where

the rural poor are mostly located, attention to regions of lower agroclimatic and resource

potential, not just the best.

In his Food Day interview, Lipton further pointed out that

Thirty million people need to escape poverty every year but only 10
million are currently doing so. The rate of poverty reduction needs to be
six times faster to meet the 2015 deadline. Cutting world poverty in half
requires a new focus on reviving agricultural development and responding
to the needs of rural populations. A global effort is required to give the
rural poor better access to land, water, technology, capital, and more open
markets. Land reform and new policies to combat bias against women and









girls, who constitute the majority of the rural poor-and whose poverty is
often reinforced through cultural and legal obstacles-are needed (World
Food Day Conference 2002).

Gordon Conway agrees with Lipton, that the principal reason why research into

agroecosystems sustainability is undertaken is the quest to relieve hunger and poverty.

The elimination of poverty and hunger is a goal within the reach of scientists. Conway

warns of the dire consequences of inaction:

Unless the developing countries are helped to realize sufficient food, employment
and shelter for their growing populations or to gain the means to purchase the food
internationally, the political stability of the world will be further undermined
(Conway 1997, p.11).

Conway states furthermore, that if the proportion of the population of the

developing countries deprived of an adequate diet remains the same; the number

undernourished by the year 2020 could be greater than 1.4 billion. An alternative

scenario, which explicitly addresses this objection, is for the developing countries to

undertake an accelerated, broad-based growth, not only in food production, but in

agricultural and natural resource development, as part of a larger development process

aimed at meeting most of their own food-production needs, including the needs of the

poor. Agriculture and natural resource use are inextricably related. This has been

recognized in the document that emerged from the Johannesburg conference on

sustainable development. In the agenda, signed by 180 countries, every mention of the

word agriculture is linked to the phrase natural resources (Bakiel 2002).

A new revolution has to start with the socio-economic demands of poor
households. Its goal is the creation of food security and sustainable
livelihoods for the poor. Success will not be achieved either by applying
modern science and technology, on the one hand, or by implementing
economic and social reform on the other, but through a combination of
these that is innovative and imaginative. It will require a concerted effort
on the part of the world application of new scientific and technological
discoveries in a manner that is environmentally sensitive and above all the









creation of new partnerships between scientists and farmers that will
respond to the needs of the poor (Conway 1997, p.42).

Ecuador is an economically unstable country. Overall economic stability in

Ecuador, as elsewhere, depends on a multitude of factors. This study focuses on one such

factor, which may contribute partially to success in rural development, a study of

socioeconomic resilience, as measured by workers own perceptions and simulation model

outcomes; and economic production in an agrosocioecosystem located in northern Los

Rios Province. This is a work on rural development and natural resource management.

Holistic Approach to Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management

In searching to improve the livelihoods of rural workers in a dualistic agricultural

system, perhaps neither the existence nor the profits of the commodity export sector need

be compromised. Potential threats created by export-oriented commercial agriculture

such as deficient biodiversity, monoculture, excessive chemical inputs and soil and water

degradation may be attenuated by an increase in diverse small-scale farms within an area

dominated by banana monoculture. It is likely that a holistic method is needed to

measure existing conditions and probable changes. It is suggested that using an

ecosystems property and indicator, resilience, on the broader socioeconomic plane may

be a useful focus for addressing sustainable development. This dissertation will deal with

a landscape-level agroecosystem in the Western lowlands of Ecuador.

In the study area, we have both large-scale, commercial farms as in the more

developed world, and small-scale, family agriculture. We also have, associated with the

large plantations, livelihoods of thousands of hand-laborers mostly living in small towns

in the area, and a small nature reserve which comprises-at least symbolically-the

environment, without which agricultural systems cannot be analyzed properly.









Currently, in the area surrounding the Rio Palenque Science Center and Nature

Reserve, there is heavy dependence on a very few species (banana, oil palm, rubber),

limited varieties, and foreign biotechnology (for example, banana clones from Israel).

The situation is similar to that of Costa Rica as described by Nicolas Mateo of the

International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR): ". .. agricultural

expansion has resulted in poor management of the natural resources in most of the

country and very low value-added, and has created a dangerous dependence on a small

number of crops (in Bonte-Freidheim and Sheridan 1997, p.l 13)." Because commercial

and small-scale producers and the forest itself are stakeholders and components of the

system, the processes that occur in the entire system must be viewed in a holistic manner.

The approach of this study is fundamentally systemic. It is expected that the

system can be analyzed as a whole after understanding the fundamentals of each one of

its major components. Each component, i.e. commercial banana agriculture, small-scale

farms, the plantation worker livelihood, and the Forest Reserve is itself a system.

Although no one component or system can be a priori characterized as outweighing

another in importance, our principal interest lies in the small-scale farm systems. This

approach has its background in systems theory.

The systems approach is possibly the most appropriate for tackling the level of

complexity inherent in human interactions with agroecosystems. This point was heavily

stressed at the 17th Symposium of the International Farming Systems Association

(Norman 2002, Pretty 2002, Tanic and Dixon 2002).

Because development cannot be decoupled from natural resource management,

large and small farmers must seek ways to address issues that pertain to the care and









future availability of the natural resource base on which they depend. "Those who live

beyond the borders of the world's industrial economy subsist on nature's surplus-on

organic soil fertility for food, on stable hydrological cycles for water, and on forests for

fuel. Environmental degradation, consequently, has direct, tangible results: hunger,

thirst, and fuel scarcity. No line can be drawn between economic development and

environmental protection" (Agrawal 1989, p.1). The success of those who were able to

take advantage of the green revolution is noteworthy. It is at the same time a paradox

that on the very edges of the hugely successful commercial banana plantations in Los

Rios Province, Ecuador, plantation workers live in squalor (to the outside observer's

eyes), and near subsistence level, small-scale farming continues.

A World that Revolves Around Bananas

There are roughly 204,000 banana workers in the Ecuadorian population. If one

multiplies this by three dependents per worker, it means that 600,000 depend directly on

bananas. If one includes those who depend indirectly on bananas (transportation,

cardboard manufacture, plastic, etc.), the number reaches 2,000,000. Therefore, bananas

have a huge multiplier effect in the economy. Many small towns actually make their

living from bananas. Workers purchase their basic goods there.

Globalization and dollarization, however, may threaten the system:

We have leveled salaries. We pay more than what the government says.
Many companies are barely paying what the government says. We have
been confused more than anything by the dollar. A bag of potatoes, which
used to cost S 5,000 or 50,000, suddenly is worth USD 2.00. There is no
conscience of the value of the dollar. We should not rest on our laurels
like Argentina. Competitiveness was lost in Argentina, the same could
happen to us. This is my greatest fear, that one day we will be as
expensive as Central America [bananas] and we will not be able to
compete with Central American countries. People here don't understand
that the dollar doesn't vary in the States. The workers expect a 20 to 30%
pay raise. Inflation is currently in the high teens, and the year will





I
13
I
probably close at about 14% inflation. You cannot raise salaries this high
I because you would put yourself out of business. (a banana company
executive 2001).
I Because banana production and small-scale farmer production depend heavily on
their natural resource base, it is necessary to address problems in the area in a holistic
3 way. A mere economic analysis will most likely leave out the sources and sinks that
Ecological economists have worked into broader analytical schemes (Costanza 1991,
Pearce et al. 1990, Van Kooten and Bulte 2000). The existence of a primary forest in the
I research area is not a driver of the environmental approach to the study (which is
3 fundamentally agroecological), but it does serve as a potent reminder of the enormous
changes humans can induce upon their surroundings, and it may serve as a mirror for
I reflection as we move beyond the simply descriptive question of "what is going on here?"
I to the more critical one of "where will things go from here?"
Los Rios Province
I Agriculture is the principal source of production in the Province. On the southern
I flatlands rice, sugar cane, maize, oil palm, passion fruit, and papayas are the principal
crops. On ground that is somewhat higher in the northern half of the province, export
I cash crops such as cacao, banana, and plantains prevail. The province is ranked number
I one in the country in banana, cacao, dry bean, soya bean, and maize production. Los
Rios is ranked second in rice production. Cacao, known as the "golden kernel," was the
principal Ecuadorian export item from colonial times until the First World War. A large
I proportion of the country's palm oil is produced here and it ranks second only to
I Esmeraldas Province in this area. Obviously, Los Rios is one of the most privileged
provinces in Ecuador for agricultural production.
I

I









Cattle production increased during the1990s. Both beef and (lately) dairy are

produced. Fish, an important component of the human diet, were always plentiful in the

past. They are usually caught in artisanal fashion using hook and line, nets and seines.

However, the use of illegal substances and dynamite for fishing has greatly affected local

fish populations limiting the local population's access to them as a source of protein

(Explored 1999).

At the time of Spanish encounter the area seemed to be densely populated. Tribes

included the Babahoyos, Babas, Palenques, Mangaches, Ojivas, Quilchas, and Pimochas.

The local TsAchila (Colorado) indigenous people have all but vanished. Currently, there

are around 2,000 persons claiming this ethnicity (Becker 2000). The Tsichilas'

disappearance was caused initially by disease, but later by amalgamation with other

Ecuadorians, both Indoamerican and those of European origin (Juncosa 1988).

Most of the population of Los Rios Province is young. The demographic group

from 15-29 years old is the largest sector. A little over 62% of the population lives in

rural areas. The well-known phenomenon of rural to urban migration is very high in this

province, although no exact figures are available. Many people are also employed in the

so-called "service sector," which in many documents is a euphemism for the informal

sector of the economy.

The Local Environment

The boundaries of western Ecuador have been established as the Pacific Ocean to

the West, the Colombian border to the North, the Peruvian border to the South, and the

900 m contour line on the Andean mountains to the East. With this definition, western

Ecuador has a land area of approximately 80,000 sq km, about 1/3 of the total 263,000 sq

km of continental Ecuador. Most of western Ecuador consists of a series of penneplains









extending westward from the base of the abruptly rising western range of the Andes.

There is also a low range of coastal hills seldom exceeding 800 m in elevation (Cabarle et

al. 1989).

The midcoastal region of Ecuador is located about 1.50 of latitude below the

equator and around 790 West longitude. The average altitude is 300 m above sea level,

with an average annual temperature of 24.5 C measured between the 1990 and 1995

period (NfiHez Torres 1998). The general lay of the land is flat changing to rolling hills

towards the East. The region exhibits a marked diversity in regard to agroecological

variables such as moisture, soils, light intensity, altitude, and terrain relief (Jones 1987).

Most soils are of volcanic origin with high organic matter content. Soil texture is sandy

loam and loamy sand, highly permeable and porous, with low capacity for water

retention. The porosity of the soil is favorable for crops in their early phases. However,

it is a disadvantage during growth periods when a greater level of water retention and

chemical activity is needed in the soil (Nfifez Torres 1998).

Since aboriginal times, agriculture has sustained large populations and much of

the region is under intensive agro industrial use at the present time. The soils of western

Ecuador are much richer than those of other tropical lowland areas. These rich soils

make conservation in western Ecuador very different from that in most tropical regions.

Instead of the common outcome of a few years of crops followed by abandonment, in

western Ecuador the result of forest conversion is often productive and sustainable

agriculture (Cabarle et al. 1989).

The earth's seasonal oscillation produces annual north and southward shifts in the

cold Humboldt Current and the warm Panama Current, which affect the climate of









western Ecuador. Beginning about 10 south of the Equator, the climate becomes

increasingly humid northward, varying from an annual rainfall of 2,000 mm, in the

Quevedo area, to nearly 9,000 mm near the Colombian border (Cabarle et al. 1989). The

climate in the area is warm humid and the mean annual temperature is 230C. The area

was formerly (before wide scale deforestation) classified as tropical humid forest.

A relatively drier season occurs from June through November (called "verano" or

summer in the local Spanish). The hotter, though wetter period from December through

May is called "invierno" or winter locally. Rainfall can also vary considerably from year

to year. The moisture regime is a critical variable affecting cropping practices. There are

two cropping cycles in the study area. Soil moisture (and sunlight) in this part of

Ecuador, especially during the summer dry season, is a function of cloud cover and

rainfall (Jones 1987).

The Agrosocioecosystem

Four components or sub-systems are described and the linkages among them are

quantified and qualified. The next are the four components that exist in the research area:

Large-scale commercial banana plantations.

Plantation worker households who live in towns.

Limited-resource or small-scale farms and farmers.

A small private nature reserve-the "Rio Palenque Science Center."

A limited number of livelihood options exist (Le6n and Vos 2000, SIISE 2002,

Valverde pers. comm. 2002) for the mainly unskilled and poorly educated inhabitants of

the study area:

Be a small-scale farmer with occasional off-farm work.

Be a salaried-plantation worker and live in a dormitory town.









Live and work on the plantation.

Migrate to a large city or overseas.

This creates one of the most important problems in the area. There is poverty and

little opportunity among plantation workers and small-scale farmers, which creates an

unstable social situation (ExploRed 1999, Le6n and Vos 2000, SIISE 2002, Valverde

pers. comm. 2002).

The area is overwhelmingly dominated by agriculture, at all scales and by the

ancillary industries and services that support it. It is clearly an agricultural system.

Relationships among owners and workers, worker and worker, town dweller and small

farmer, etc., make up a social network, albeit a rather loose one, nevertheless a

community, in the Wilkinsonian sense. It is also then a social system. Westley et al.

(2002, p. 107) describe a social system as follows: "any group of people who interact to

create a shared sense of understandings, norms, or routines to integrate action, and

establish patterns of dominance and resource allocation. Like any system, it is dynamic,

meaning it is difficult to change any one part of it without considerable effects on other

parts."

Furthermore, it is a place where cultivation, manufacture, trade, and salaries link

components together; more than a social system it is then a socioeconomic system.

Finally, all activities whether in one remote corer of Ecuador or anywhere else on the

planet are beholden to and ultimately limited by the natural resources the Earth can

provide.

It is a complex interplay of living organisms, human beings, and the habitat that

surrounds them. It is an ecosystem as well. Ecosystems are defined as places on earth









that consist of biotic components (life) and abiotic or physical components (Carpenter

1998 in Westley et al. 2002, p.105). Agriculture, socioeconomics, and ecology are

interwoven in this agrosocioecosystem (ASES). Hereafter, in this study, the term

agrosocioecosystem and the acronym ASES refers to the study area.

The disciplines that describe and analyze these activities i.e. agricultural sciences,

sociology, economics, and ecology, are the lenses through which the agrosocioecosystem

will be described and analyzed. The particular fields within these sciences that apply to

our research are mentioned below.

Researchable Problem

Some plantation workers live on the plantations, others live in small local towns

and still others live on small-scale farms. It is not known which of these living

arrangements provides more socioeconomic resilience and thus more stability in the long

run for the agrosocioecosystem and better livelihoods for rural workers. Additional

infrastructure and amenities required to reduce out migration are also unknown.

Research Area

An area considered representative of where a major Ecuadorian banana production

and export company operates several important plantations was defined. This area was

measured using a hand-held GPS unit in March 2002. Waypoints were taken at the

extremes of the area's limits and the resulting polygon (see figure 1 map below)

contained 13,308 ha. The principal infrastructure feature is the Quevedo-Santo Domingo

highway, which bisects the study area north to south. Located in the northeast corer of

this area is the Rio Palenque Science Center and Nature Reserve. Because the research

was spawned by the interest of a local foundation to assess what benefits could be

extended from the forest reserve to nearby farmers, it was taken as a point around which





I
19

the study area would be defined. The topography immediately east and north of the

I reserve varies greatly as the foothills of the Andes begin there. These small hills are

Known as Sierra del Ila on local maps. This is why the study area fans out towards the

West and Southwest where topography similar to that of the station occurs, and waters
run towards the Palenque (Quevedo) River, as part of the Guayas Basin.

SMost jobs in the study area are on banana plantations. There is also some work
available on palm oil, rubber, aback (Musa textilis, grown for Manila hemp fiber), and

lately pineapple plantations. There are a very few agroindustries such as palm oil

B factories and a meat packing plant, which belongs to a supermarket chain, located near

I Patricia Pilar. Most everything, however, is related to agricultural production in one way
or another. Bananas are big but palm has also been around for more than 40 years.

SAccording to data from the Municipality of Buena F6, the research area contains
389 small-scale farms under 10 ha in size (mean = 3ha). Also located in the area are 513

medium-size farms between 11 and 99 ha in size (mean=12 ha), and 49 large properties

over 100 ha in size (mean= 10). The Parish, (an administrative unit below the canton or

county level) of Patricia Pilar has a population of 6,241 (SIISE 2002). The town of

Patricia Pilar proper holds around 4,500 inhabitants (Buena F6 Municipal Records).

SOther rural settlements in the area include the "recintos" (hamlets) of Los Angeles (pop.

S250), Valdez (pop. 100), and Fumisa (pop. 200), and several crossroads of 20-30 persons
each. Total farms in the area are 951. In summary, the population of the study area,
although very mobile, is roughly 5,000 in small towns and hamlets; 3,000 on small and

) medium farms; and 650 workers living on plantations or haciendas. The total population

of the study area is approximately 1,800 households, or 9,000 people. Of these, some



I









3,000, or nearly 32%, are banana plantation workers. Another 2,000 banana plantation

workers do not reside in the study area.


F Guayaql



Figure 1-1. Map of Ecuador and study area


The area includes five major banana plantations owned by the same company:

NG (483 ha), MC (116 ha), V (81 ha), SV (135 ha), and Z (548 ha). Also belonging to

the same agribusiness group are three other properties: ZC, a cattle ranch (approximately

600 ha), MA, a macadamia, rubber, and ornamentals plantation (80 ha), and the Rio

Palenque Science Center (140 ha), of which 90 ha is primary forest. Aside from this,

there are 19 banana plantations that are considered associated producers who are "loyal"









to the company but are individually owned, totaling nearly 1,500 ha. In summary, 16.4%

or 2,183 ha of the land in the study area are owned and operated by the above-mentioned

banana agribusiness group. Another 11.27% or 1,500 ha of banana plantations have

strong ties to the same commercial group. Together they make up 27.67% of the total of

13,008 ha. One company then directly or indirectly controls over /4of the region,

making their influence impossible to ignore in any serious study of the area.

Approximately 17% of the area is made up of small-scale or limited-resource

farms and nearly 46% is composed of medium-size farms. Urban areas including towns,

hamlets, and many populated crossroads make up less than 3% of the area. There are

also some 300 ha of protected areas, all on the banana company's lands, in the area.

These data are based on tax records and artificial divisions of farm size created by the

municipality of Buena F6 for tax purposes. Of the medium and large farms 40% are

banana, 40% palm and others include rubber, cattle, palm heart, malanga, pineapple,

abaca (manila hemp) and others.

Objectives

Study objectives were to describe, understand, analyze, and test alternatives

scenarios that might provide the greatest well-being for all humans at whatever level they

may be inserted into the system. Fundamentally, this means searching for the highest

possible quality of life for plantation workers and limited-resource farmers, without

compromising the profitability and growth of the banana export industry, of such vital

importance to the national economy of Ecuador.

Within this overall objective, specific objectives were to:









Assess resilience vis-d-vis economic crises, drought or flood, and sudden

household composition changes of limited-resource households, and town-

dwelling plantation worker households in the study area,

Determine the effects of several living arrangements on overall socioeconomic

resilience in the research area,

Address the issue of food security for both types of rural workers,

Assess the need for infrastructure or amenities needed to make rural living more

attractive, and

Assess the role of a science center and forest reserve as a component of an

agrosocioecosystem.

Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1.

Small-scale farm households are better able to survive stress and shocks than town-

dwelling plantation worker households. They are more socioeconomically resilient.

Hypothesis 2.

Transferring plantation workers living in town to small-scale farms would increase

overall economic output of the system and add to socioeconomic resilience in the study

area.

Hypothesis 3.

If redesigned rural worker living arrangements are to be successful and enhance

socioeconomic stability in the area, amenities and infrastructure, such as accessible

schools and clinics must be provided.









Hypothesis 4.

If a local science center and forest reserve is used to create and disseminate knowledge

to small-scale farmers in the research area over other possible uses, overall economic

output and socioeconomic resilience of the system will be increased.

Hypothesis 1 was assessed using a stated-preference, or perceptions survey among

workers. Evidence from this survey was reinforced by ethnographic and participatory

linear programming models. Hypothesis 2 was explored using a large matrix linear

program containing all four components (themselves systems) of the agrosocioecosystem.

Hypothesis 3 was explored using statistical analysis of a perceptions survey conducted

with rural workers in the study area. As the hypothesis states, simply rearranging the

place where rural workers live cannot enhance socioeconomic sustainability if the

principal stakeholders do not perceive available infrastructure and amenities as adequate.

Finally, hypothesis 4 was explored using the same large matrix LP described for

hypothesis 2.

Methods

The next questions guided the choice of methodologies employed for data

gathering and analysis:

What are the components of the system?

How do these components interact?

Is the system and each one of its components resilient?

How do people survive?

Who is better off(workers living in towns or small-scale farmers)?

Is there equitable distribution? and finally,

Who or what affects or is affected by the forest and certification?









In this work, the unit of study is referred to as an agrosocioecosystem. Some

elements of agroecosystem analysis (AEA) (Conway 1990, p.224) were used. AEA

draws on the concepts of agroecosystems, agroecosystem hierarchies, agroecosystem

properties and their trade-offs as a basis for analysis. Mathematical simulations and

statistical analysis will reinforce these analyses.

In order to address these questions a review of secondary sources was used, also a

modified Sondeo, interviews, local knowledge surveys, farming systems interviews, a

perceptions survey, ethnographic linear programming, participatory linear programming,

and statistical analysis. Further detail regarding methodologies used with plantation

workers can be found in Chapter 4, and those used with small-scale farmers or more fully

detailed in Chapter 5. Interviews were also conducted throughout the research period

extending from November 2000 to March 2002 with upper management of an important

fruit company, plantation field managers, town dwellers, the Rio Palenque Science

Center's biologists and managers, directors of a local foundation and personnel, parents

and teachers, and many others. The Sondeo, interviews and surveys, fundamental

Farming Systems methodologies, were invaluable for obtaining a great deal of

information to understand socioeconomic diversity and system structure and function

within a reasonable time frame.

The principal analysis tool used was the ethnographic LP model. These models

link ethnographic information to a quantitative analysis tool that allows multiple

objectives. The strength of the ELP is that it can incorporate demographic,

socioeconomic, ecological, climatic, production, and other data in one model. These

models use information gathered directly from producers and workers using participatory










I-- 93 -km


D
D


BaunaaPlantations
Other Plantations
Sciene Center and Natue Reserve
Smal-scale farm areas
Town
HamletK~rossroads


Figure 1-2. Schematic of the study area


methods. The models were calibrated with farmers, which is invaluable to understanding
the system. These models, which are themselves hypotheses, can be used to explore
possible shocks, to look at the mechanics of linkages, and to appraise new technologies.
The models provide acceptable conjectures if well constructed. Different outcomes under
several scenarios allow us to examine hypotheses. They are a rapid, low cost, effective
tool for ex ante prediction and hypothesis testing. Another strength of these models is


N
+


185 km






26 I

that they can be scaled up, that is, aggregated to the community or landscape level, and

thus simulate an entire agrosocioecosystem for predictive purposes. I
Analysis

Data gathered through the various procedures described, i.e. informal interviews,

surveys, secondary data, were used as inputs for linear program models. The limited- I

resource farm household was modeled and compared to a similar model of a plantation

worker household living in town. Both received similar shocks. Their resilience to these

shocks was contrasted to evaluate the first hypothesis. Additional similar, but not

identical scenarios were also run, and the results reported. Scenarios are described in

Chapter 7. A multi-year model was built encompassing all four components of the

system in order to explore the second hypothesis. Scenarios are described in Chapter 7.
A survey of worker's perceptions', with 82 samples was statistically analyzed both to test

the third hypothesis, and to add balance to the possible bias surrounding the banana

plantation system derived from extensive use of corporate interviews to describe this I

component of the agrosocioecosystem. These results and a discussion on them are given

in Chapter 4.
Organization of the Study I

The first chapter is an introduction to the background and problematic situation in

which the study is set. This chapter also deals with the objectives and hypotheses of the

dissertation, a general description of the study region and a more detailed definition of 3

the exact study area. The methodology for description and analysis is briefly described.

Finally, the justification for the study and its potential significance are discussed.

Chapter 2 is a literature review and presentation of the theoretical underpinnings of this

I

I









study. The next four chapters deal with each one of the components of the

agrosocioecosystem were defined in Chapter 1.

Chapter 3 is concerned with the export banana production system. It is described

and analyzed to understand internal dynamics, and how external forces, especially

changing global markets are affecting it. Chapter 4 refers to the workers who earn their

living on the plantations. After describing both the conditions on the plantations and

conditions in the small towns where most workers live, the results of a perceptions survey

conducted with these workers are shown. The aim of this was to capture both an emic

and an etic (Bernard 1995, p.238) side to our research. That is, one thing is what we have

learned about the workers from secondary sources including those who run the banana

company, and another may be the reality perceived by the workers.

Chapter 5 addresses the issue of the small-scale farmer component of the

agrosocioecosystem. The farming systems are first described and then analyzed using

ethnographic linear programming (ELP). The linkages that exist within this system are

explored and attention is given to the resilience of small-scale farm households to

economic, climatic, and social shocks. The economic shocks deal with inflation,

commodity prices and off-farm wages. The climatic disturbances refer to excessive rain

or droughts caused by El Nifio Southern Oscillation (ENSO) related phenomena. Social

shocks refer to sudden changes in household composition, such as those caused by

emigration or death (as opposed to natural family life cycles).

Chapter 6 deals with environmental certification and the Rio Palenque Science

Center and Nature Reserve, and natural areas on banana haciendas are described with

several objectives in mind. These include having a baseline knowledge of what the






28 i


natural ecosystem was like in the study area before the onset of modem agriculture; to I

understand the role of private conservation and development efforts; to seek linkages

between the existence of the forest and the availability of processes that enable improved

marketing of bananas; and finally, to look at the forest and its potential role as a site for

the creation of knowledge. I

In Chapter 7, the components that were dealt with individually in Chapters 3

through 6 are brought together for an overall analysis. In this chapter, data are analyzed

to test the several hypotheses. Linear programming allows us to understand the I

workings, dynamics, and complex mechanics of the system.

The final chapter summarizes findings from the study. Based upon these I

conclusions, it goes on to delineate potential changes based upon the above-mentioned I

search for economic and human development coupled with sustainability.
Significance

It is expected that the present study can contribute to our understanding of the I

biophysical and socioeconomic interface of the agrosocioecosystem. Ecuador is a

"wealthy country with poor people" (V. Bastidas pers. comm. 2002) (GDP = 19.3 billion;

population nearly 13 million). Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Los Rios I

Province. Nevertheless, with crisis may come opportunity. Useful information may

emerge from this study, which may serve as a reference for those working in agricultural

development and social policy. The highlighting of important inequities existent may aid

in fostering projects and programs for the area. Significant efforts of private corporations

and foundations in the areas of education, health care, and conservation, which currently

exist in the study area, may serve as important examples to others. I

I

I









On the other hand, local agricultural producers, large and small, may use data

from this work to improve their own livelihoods and those of others in their communities.

The weakness of formal institutions with regard to technology innovation and transfer,

credit and other basic issues, which are pointed out in the present work, may serve as a

stimulus for self-help and collaborative effort. The study may also allow farmers and

natural resource managers to reflect on their own roles in the future of the study area.

This work may be useful in shedding light on the current situation. It may aid in

delineating potential paths that may be followed in the search for improved resilience,

thus allowing for sustainable development and improved rural livelihoods in the area.

For Ecuador, the University of Florida and researchers elsewhere, it is hoped that

the work will provide not only a further step in agroecological and sustainability research,

but also a wider recognition of the need to find the intersection of the biophysical and the

socioeconomic in human livelihood systems. This dissertation seeks to create greater

awareness of the local human's role as stakeholders, but also as decision makers. It is

hoped that this may empower them towards a brighter future through their own efforts in

development and conservation.














CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW: THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF THE STUDY

Compiling the literature for an interdisciplinary study such as this is a daunting

endeavor. Disciplinary, and often reductionist research, can often count on decades of

related, annotated work built up through a process of accretion. Work is available as a

single body of study in the form of condensed reviews and a handful of specific journals.

By contrast, studies that are interdisciplinary in nature call for a wide array of referential

material, commonly dispersed and often at first glance, unrelated. In order to convey the

double purpose of reviewing previous related research and assuring its inclusion within

the theoretical underpinnings upon which a new study is built, several areas of scientific

thought must be embraced, and then their intersection must be sought and explained.

This weaving of multiple fields into a common web that supports and helps set the tone

for a study that seeks to achieve the goals of ecological, economic, and social

improvement of a defined system and its principal subsets will be attempted in this

chapter.

The next areas are discussed in turn. Sustainability is described as a general

concept and resilience as a property and indicator of sustainability. A history and

relevant concepts of systems theory and the systems approach to scientific research is

given, including relevant research on banana dominated agroecosystems.

A brief outline of linear programming as a modeling technique and its application

to agriculture, livelihood systems, and sustainability research is also approached. As this

study entails many aspects of rural development and natural resource management, a









broad outline of several schools of economic development thought, along with current

thinking and pertinent studies follow. Finally, the ecological institutional aspects of

deforestation, private nature parks, and ecological or "green certification" are reviewed.

Sustainability

Sustainable agriculture is a relatively recent response to the decline in the quality

of the natural resource base with modem agriculture (Kelly 1995, Mclsaac and Edwards,

cited in Altieri 2001a, Pretty 2002). Discussion of agricultural production has evolved

from a purely technical one to a more complex one characterized by social, cultural,

political and economic dimensions. The concept of sustainability is controversial and

diffuse partly because of conflicting definitions and interpretations of its meaning.

However, it is a useful concept as it addresses concerns about agriculture, which

are the result of the coevolution of socioeconomic and natural systems (Jordan and

Hutcheon 1995, Reijntjes et al., cited in Altieri 200 b). A wider understanding of the

agricultural context requires the study of agriculture, the global environment, and social

systems, given that agricultural development results from the complex interaction of a

multitude of factors. It is through this deeper understanding of the ecology of agricultural

systems that doors will open to new management options more in tune with the objectives

of a truly sustainable agriculture (Altieri 2001a, Shiyomi and Koizumi 2001).

A general agroecological principle (which is widely applicable except, perhaps in

the case of wetland rice production) states: the greater the structural and functional

similarity of an agroecosystem to the natural ecosystems in its biogeographic region, the

greater the likelihood that the agroecosystems will be sustainable (Gliessman 1998,

Ruthenberg 1980). Agroecologists are now recognizing that intercropping, agroforestry,

and other diversification methods mimic natural ecological processes, and that the









sustainability of complex agroecosystems lies in the ecological models they follow. By

designing farming systems that mimic nature, optimal use can be made of sunlight, soil

nutrients, and rainfall (Pretty 1994).

With this, we are not suggesting that banana monoculture is unsustainable and

should therefore be eliminated. Indeed, the swidden type of banana production prevalent

before the introduction of the Cavendish variety was sustainable as long as there was

abundant forestland for shifting to new tracts of land, while old banana areas were left in

fallow to be "cleansed" of the disease. There is a good chance of conserving fertility

when perennial crops are grown. The frequency and intensity of cultivation is less than

in arable farming. Many perennial crops shade the soil and permit or require a permanent

cover of grass or leguminous vegetation. Some tree and shrub crops influence the soil in

the same way as the forest, and moreover permanent planting encourages the construction

of terraces, the control of watercourses, and other permanent land improvements. The

destruction of fertility in the cultivation of some perennial crops, like coffee in southern

Brazil or tea in Sri Lanka is very serious, but the fact remains that the damage is usually

less than in arable farming under similar conditions (Ruthenberg 1980).

High input Cavendish variety banana production however, may be less

sustainable due to a plethora of factors. These include low biodiversity, low nutrient

recycling, and excessive reliance on irrigation, low biological interactions-especially of

beneficial organisms-and low synergism among components. These lead to a

breakdown of key agroecological processes and services (Altieri 2001b).

It is not necessary (nor necessarily desirable) for the sustainability of a system, to

insist on the sustainability of all the system's components, because of substitution





I

I 33
possibilities among resources (Harrington 1992). This ignores, however, the normative
I question of whether it is desirable to have unsustainable subsystems within a larger
sustainable system. This is particularly an issue in a situation where an agricultural
system may be sustainable, but individual farms within it are not. While systems
sustainability is affected by the sustainability of lower system's levels, it is not
Necessarily dependent upon their sustainability. In other words, a system will not likely
i be sustained within a larger unsustainable system, though it can be sustainable even if
one or more of its components is not (Kelly 1995). A hypothetical illustration of this
point says that a resource-limited farm is not sustainable within a larger commercial
I plantation system that is unsustainable. Conversely, the commercial plantation system
may be sustainable even if the small-scale farms within it are unsustainable.
I Resilience: A Concept, an Indicator, and an Emergent Property
I Resilience is a key property of sustainability (Folke at al. 1998, Holling in Van
Kooten and Bulte 2000). Ecological resilience has been defined as the magnitude of
I disturbance that can be experienced before a system moves into a different state and a
I different set of controls (Holling 1973, 1986). Social resilience has been defined as the
ability of human communities to withstand external shocks to their social infrastructure,
I such as environmental variability or social, economic, and political upheaval (Adger
3 2000, Conway and Chambers 1992).
The sustainability we refer to in this work is intimately linked to the term
I development (Altieri 1990, 1994, 1995, Conway 1987, Spedding 1975). Both diversity
I and disturbance are parts of sustainable development and resilience. The interaction
between diversity and disturbance needs to be explicitly accounted for in an increasingly
I globalized and human dominated biosphere (Folke et al. 1998). Change and crisis are

I






34


part of the dynamic development of complex coevolving social-ecological systems

(Gunderson 1999). In keeping with Vandermeer and Perfecto 1995 (in Boucher 1999) 3

we engage the entire spectrum of disturbance, resilience, and sustainable development by

Beginning the political process of reorganizing socioeconomic-ecological U
systems by examining questions of food security'... as a mode of analysis,
examining food insecurity will cause us to deal with the entire complex
web of ecological, sociological, economic and political issues (1999,
p.96).

Thus, one of our principal theses is that small-scale polycultural agriculture may I

be an asset for sustainable development because those who engage in this activity may be

more resilient and confer some of this property to other levels of the systems hierarchy.

Shocks and stresses are emphasized to differentiate from the normal small disturbing

forces such as fluctuations in cycles in the surrounding environment (including physical,

biological, social, and economic variables that lie outside the agroecosystem under

consideration). Shocks can be external, that is, issues that are beyond the farmers'

control or exogenous. Internal shocks are directly associated with farming system I

operations and decision-making. These questions may or may not be associated with

externalities (Harrington 1992). The constancy of production within normal fluctuations

is known as stability, which is different from resilience (Conway 1985). 1

There are several foci in available definitions of sustainability. An I

environmentally sustainable agroecosystem maintains the resource base upon which it


1A nation is food-secure only if each and every one of its inhabitants is food-secure, that is, has access at all times to
the food required to lead a healthy and productive life. To achieve this, each individual or, in practice, each household
must grow sufficient food or be able to purchase the food from income earned either through selling agricultural
products or by engaging in agricultural or non-agricultural employment For urban dwellers, the only option is to
engage in non-agricultural employment, but for the vast numbers of rural poor, if they are not growing enough food to
meet their needs, they must have the means to purchase the food they require. For them, food security depends as
much on employment and incomes as it does on food. Production, and agricultural and natural-resource development
are crucial in both respects.
(Conway 1997, p.66).

I









depends, relies on a minimum of artificial inputs, manages pests and diseases through

internal regulating mechanisms, is able to recover from disturbances caused by

cultivation and harvest, and is productive over a long period of time without degrading its

resource base-either locally-or elsewhere (Gliessman 1998). Furthermore,

environmental sustainability itself seeks to improve human welfare by protecting the

sources of raw materials used for human needs and ensuring that the sinks for human

waste are not exceeded in order to prevent harm to humans.

Social sustainability involves elements including cohesion of community, cultural

identity, diversity, commonly accepted standards of honesty, laws, and others that

constitute the aspects of social capital least subject to rigorous management but essential

for social stability. Human and social capital, investment in education, health and

nutrition of individuals are now accepted as part of economic development, but the

creation and maintenance of social capital is not yet adequately recognized. It refers

especially to the ability to recover after shocks or stress (Conway and Chambers 1992,

Goodland and Pimentel in Shiyomi and Koizumi 2001, Paoletti 2001).

Another pertinent realm of sustainability is the economic one. The widely

accepted definition of economic sustainability is maintenance of capital. The amount

consumed in a period must maintain the capital intact because only the interest must be

consumed. Economic values are restricted to money; valuing natural intergenerational

capital, such as soil, water, air, biodiversity is problematic (Goodland and Pimentel 1998,

Paoletti 2001, Van Kooten and Bulte 2000).

Two salient commonalities regarding sustainability can be highlighted. First,

systems where sustainable development is to take place are typically diverse and









complex, that is, as interconnected as possible. Second, these systems and especially the

humans that affect and are affected by them must be able to recover from major changes

and reorganize themselves into new states of equilibrium2. We have chosen to examine

the system at hand with regard to the property of resilience. Resilience, if measured

correctly, may be one of the best measures of sustainability3.

To put it succinctly:

Human communities can be understood as comprising individuals, a
population, communities, and coalitions of communities that work
together or oppose each other on the basis of interest values. Like
agroecosystems, communities of place and of interest have emergent
qualities and are more than the sum of their parts. The interactions
between population and communities of interest and of place can enhance
or detract from sustainability. Sustainability is an emergent property of
the interactions between communities of interest and of place that includes
a healthy ecosystem, vital economies, and social equity (Flora 2001, p.1).

One of the bases on which this research builds is that resilience (to a point) can be

built into farm systems for sustainability. Sustainable agricultural systems will therefore

display the characteristics of a resilient system. The goal is, at least initially, to

understand which features will be more conducive to building resilience at the farm level

and thereby contribute to sustainable agriculture and livelihoods (Carpenter and

Gunderson 2001, Folke et al. 1998, Milestad et al. 2002).

Berkes and Folke (1998) hypothesized that successful resource management

systems will allow disturbances to enter on a scale that does not disrupt the structure and




2 A comprehensive review on the several definitions of sustainability, stability and diversity is given in
Wratten and Van Emden, in Ecology and Integrated Farming Systems. Also see Glen et al. 1995.

3 For a well-organized account of difficulties involved in measurement of sustainability in agricultural
systems, see L.W. Harrington. Measuring Sustainability. Journal of Farming Systems Research-Extension
(3) 1, November 1992, pp.1-18.









functional performance of the ecosystem and the services it provides. This capacity to

absorb and adapt to change in an active way includes these aspects:

Understanding cycles of natural and unpredictable events (Roling and Jiggins

1998);

Diverse and flexible on-farm and off-farm activities to stabilize the farm system

(Ellis 2000); and

Stewardship and socioecological management (Folke et al. 1998, cited in

Milestad et al. 2002).

Another useful element that may contribute to farm resilience is the degree of

self- organization between farms and with the "outside" world. This includes a limit to

dependence on external institutions for information, and a decrease in the level of

dependence on external inputs, rather relying on internal nutrient cycles (Capra 1996,

Pretty 1998). Finally, a component of resilience that reflects a learning aspect of system

behavior in response to disturbance is adaptive capacity. Feedback mechanisms, which

allow resource managers to receive signals, process and interpret them, and respond with

adequate changes in their management practices, are key (Berkes and Folke 1998,

Gunderson et al. 1995).

It is a basic tenet of systems theory that systems comprise subsystems that interact.

For systems directed by human, control is attempted by managing these sub-systems and

the interactions between them in an unpredictable environment (Dent and Anderson

1971, Tivy and O'Hare 1981). In this study, resilience of each component of the

system-which is itself a system-was analyzed, followed by analysis of the entire









system. Systems were examined by introducing shocks into linear program (LP) models

and quantifying the outcomes.

This study used an ethnographic linear programming (ELP) (Breuer 2000, Kaya et

al. 2000, Mudhara 2002, Thangata 2002) approach to better understand resilience in an

Ecuadorian agrosocioecosystem. The research is multidisciplinary in focus and

organization. Although theories, principles, and case studies from many different areas

are used as references and as a foundation upon which the current study is constructed,

the principal pillars are these:

Farming Systems Research, which is more thoroughly discussed in Chapter 4

(Collinson 2001, Hart 1980, 1981, Hildebrand 1986, Ruthenberg 1980).

Linear Programming (Cabrera 2000, Doyle 1990, Hazell and Norton, 1986, Kaya

et al. 2000, Mudhara 2002, Spedding et al. 1981).

Rural to Urban Migration, especially the argument that urban unemployment

might best be addressed by reducing the incentives to migrate to cities, by raising

rural incomes via a broad range of development programs (Harris and Todaro

1970, Hazell and Haggblade 1990, Todaro 1969).

Agroecosystems and Sustainability (Altieri 1987, Berkes and Folke 1998,

Conway 1985, Flora 2001, Gliessman 1998, Holling and Gunderson 2002).

Banana-Dominated Agroecosystems (Soluri 2001, Striffler 2002, Vandermeer

and Perfecto 1999).

Systems Approach

A system is an arrangement of components that function as a unit. Biological and

physical systems are open systems that interact with their environments, processing

inputs to produce outputs. Smuts pioneered the systems approach in biology with his









introduction of the concept of Holism in 1926. In the early 1930's, von Bertalanffy

formulated what he defined as a General Systems Theory (Hart 1980).

The systems approach has been applied to all biological disciplines, but is probably

most associated with ecology. In 1935, Tansley proposed the term Ecosystem. The

concept has been developed by many others, such as in the classic papers on trophic

levels by Lendeman and energy flow through ecosystems by H.T. Odum. Development

of the ecosystem concept into a larger ecological systems concept is probably most

associated with E.P. Odum (1971) and his Fundamentals of Ecology text and the energy

circuit approach of H.T. Odum. The former defines an ecosystem as follows:

An ecosystem is "any unit that includes all the organisms in a given area
interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to
clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles
within the system." The flow of energy and cycling of materials
associated with ecosystems can be found in other ecological systems both
larger and smaller than ecosystems. In systems terminology, ecosystems
are subsystems of other systems as well as composed of subsystems. The
conceptual framework of ecology is based on the assumption that there
exists a series of hierarchically interacting systems from the universe to
the smallest subatomic particle (E.P. Odum 1971, cited in Hart, p.3).

Ecosystems, communities, and populations are probably the most common units

studied in ecology. Each hierarchical level is conceptualized as a system composed of a

set of subsystems. Interactions between two subsystems of the same system can be

defined as horizontal system integration. Horizontal system interaction can be

superimposed upon the vertical system interaction. This vertical and horizontal

ecological systems model can also be applied to the agricultural production process.


Since sustainable agriculture encompasses environmental, productive, economic,

and social concerns, its analysis is best served by a systems approach that accounts for

component interactions, and that can trace the consequences of an intervention through









the entire system. While in high input farming, interventions may disregard some

important system interactions and still obtain high yields; such disregard is not possible

in "sustainable" agriculture where these interactions are key to decision making. A

strong systems perspective is a distinguishing feature of sustainable agriculture (Carroll

et al. 1990, Conway 1985, Edwards 1995).

Potentially, the systems approach, in which the biological, economic, and social

aspects of a problem are examined in an integrated way, is very relevant to product and

resource decisions (Doyle 1990). Furthermore, an argument can be made for the

challenges posed by the interactions between agriculture and human social systems and

institutions. Spedding (1979) pointed out that agricultural systems lie at the intersection

of economics, the social sciences, and biology. He approached the complexity by

defining agroecosystems strictly in terms of their "purpose" and then defining

boundaries. However, a case can also be made, in light of our increased understanding of

environmental and social systems, for defining systems not only in terms of human

purpose but also by their unique structure and dynamics (Conway in Jones and Street

1990). In defining the agroecosystem under study, we follow both authors.

The nub of the systems approach is a belief that the whole is more than the
sum of its parts. This implies that an isolated study of the components that
make up the system is inadequate to understand the complete system.
This is because the separate parts are linked in an interacting manner and
it is the interactions and inter-relationships between the various
components that give the system its identity and organizational integrity
Thus, systems theory is primarily concerned with the systematic study of
interactions between different factors that make it up (Dent and Anderson
1971, Doyle 1990, Kiker 1999, Roundtree 1977, Spedding 1979).

In her work on adult education and systems thinking, Melinda Kiker (1999) traces

the origin of systems thinking to dissatisfaction among scientists in the 1950s regarding

the reductionist analytical process pervasive in research up to that moment. The systems









approach was a reaction against the simplicity of the self-contained laboratory

experiment because of its apparent failure to adequately address the problems of an

increasingly complex world. The author describes systems thinking, within which, a

system is a complex and highly interlinked network of parts exhibiting synergistic

properties-the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Systems possess these basic

characteristics: a purpose; boundaries; emergent properties (properties as a whole entity

which cannot be deduced from their constituent parts); exist in nested hierarchies; have

internal processes of communication and control; go through transformation processes;

are to some extent able to adapt and survive; and are usually open to the environment

(Kiker 1999). Systems can be as different as living organisms, cosmological clusters,

corporate production and sales, agricultural and ecological systems. It is these last two

systems that concern us.

The agroecosystems concept involves multiple levels of organization. These are an

individual, an organism, a population (groups of similar organisms), communities

(groups of different organisms), and an ecosystem, which links the abiotic factors of an

environment and the communities of populations and organisms that occur in a specific

area (Gliessman 1998).

Agricultural and Agroecological Systems

Agricultural systems exhibit not only vertical hierarchical system interaction, but

also horizontal system interaction. Each hierarchical level is a functioning set of

subsystems with the outputs of some subsystems acting as inputs to others. While it is

possible to describe a global level agricultural system, from the point of view of

agricultural research and development, the geographic region is probably the largest unit

of interest.









A regional agricultural system includes all the farms in the geographic region; the

marketing, credit and information center; and the infrastructure that ties these regional

subsystems together. A region can be analyzed as a system with materials, energy,

money and information flowing into and out of the region and between subsystems

within the region. From an agricultural research point of view the farms within the

region are the most important subsystems and form the next lower hierarchical level

under the region.

A farm is also a system made up of subsystems. A farm system can be viewed

conceptually as a set of spatially definable areas in which crops, animal or both are

produced, and a homestead area where the farmhouse is located. The crop or animal

production areas form units, analogous to the ecosystem unit in ecology, and can be

defined as agroecosystems. The farmhouse area in which the farm family is fed and

clothed and the economic transactions and management decisions that occur on a farm

can be combined to form a socioeconomic subsystem of the farm system. The

socioeconomic subsystem and the agroecosystems interact to form a farm system

(Conway 1985, Hart 1980).

An agroecosystem is also a system made up of subsystems. As in the case of

natural ecosystems, an agroecosystem is composed of a biotic community of plants,

animals and microorganisms, and the physical environment in which the community

functions. Energy flows between trophic levels and materials are cycled. An

agroecosystem differs from a natural ecosystem in that at least one plant or animal

population is of agricultural value and that man plays an important management role.

Soil, crops, weeds, insects, and microorganisms can be defined as subsystems of crop-









dominated agroecosystems. Agronomic research has been done on all of these

subsystems, but crop systems and animal systems have received the most attention.

It is not always necessary or practical to use the entire hierarchy. Emphasis can

be placed at one level, as for example in the case of a cropping systems project. In

principal, however, it will always be necessary to study at least three levels: the unit of

interest, and the next higher and next lower levels. The next higher system must be

studied in order to measure the inputs into the system, and the next lower level must be

studied in order to understand how the system functions (Hart 1980).

Agroecosystems are, just as any other system, defined in terms of their

biophysical boundaries and flows. Furthermore, they are the result of human decisions

that derive from human goals. These are determined by the dynamics of human social

and economic cooperation and competition as embodied in a variety of human

institutions. The resulting system is thus as much a socioeconomic system as it is an

ecological system, and has both biophysical and socioeconomic boundaries.

Four properties have been defined for agroecosystems:

Productivity, which is the output of a valued product per unit of resource input.

This can be measured in yields (biomass) or by some more difficult to define

product such as social, economic, psychological or spiritual well-being; yields can

also be converted to some value such as Kcal.

Stability, which is the constancy of production in the face of small disturbing

forces arising from normal fluctuations and cycles in the surrounding

environment. Included in the environment are those physical, biological, social,

and economic variables that lie outside the agroecosystem under consideration.









Sustainability, which is the ability to maintain productivity in the face of a stress

or shock. After a shock, the productivity of the system may be unaffected or may

fall and then return to the previous level or trend, or settle to a newer level (or

new set of controls as Holling refers to it), or it may collapse altogether; and

Equitability, which is the evenness of distribution of the productivity of the

agricultural system among the human beneficiaries (Conway 1987, Holling 1986,

Odum 1970).

The importance of extending analysis of agricultural systems to the wider

environment and social systems within which agriculture is embedded has become

apparent (Conway 1990). Spedding et al. (1981) emphasized the ecological approach to

whole agricultural systems and not merely to their internal structure and functions.

Spedding also recognizes that the relationship is two-way: just as the health of agriculture

depends on the proper functioning of environmental processes, so does the health of the

environment depend on a respectful agriculture. Likewise, Conway (1990) recognizes a

two-way relationship between agriculture and social institutions. Whereas agriculture is

universally recognized as the provider of food without which hunger, illness, and warfare

would undoubtedly ensue, it also has more subtle relationships with human institutions.

Interdisciplinary research combines the systems approach, and allows for the

simultaneous pursuit of multiple goals, including sustainability, food security, and

improved livelihoods. A balanced pluralist approach, empirically based and with a wide

span in both political economy and physical ecology, is more likely to fit reality. Only

comprehensive, fully interdisciplinary approaches are likely to meet the challenge to

provide less-intensive farming systems. These systems need to be economically,





I
I 45
ecologically, and environmentally sound and sustainable in the long term (Chambers
I 1983, Jordan and Hutcheon 1995).
I Banana Dominated Agroecosystems
Although much research has been done on banana production starting in the early
I 20th century, three authors stand out for having treated the system of bananas and the
I systems of which commercial banana production is a subcomponent as a place where
human communities interface with agroecosystems. University of Michigan ecologist
I John Vandermeer and his colleague Ivette Perfecto wrote an important study looking at
I commercial banana production in Costa Rica and emphasizing the link among bananas,
logging interests and small-scale farmers. The thesis of their work was that these several
components, which had a rich history of working at odds at each other, might also work
3 together to prevent further rainforest destruction in that country (1999).
SThe introduction of a new commodity crop on the world market (bananas) that led
to an economic boom and then an agroecosystem bust in rural communities in Honduras
3 was described by John Soluri (2001 in Flora 2001). In his focus, decisions made outside
the community (such as that only a certain color, shape, and size of fruit-the Gros
Michel-was a banana), despite the wide variety of species available in Honduras,
Increased the monocultural-devastation cycle. The response of local communities,
government authorities, and transnational corporations to agroecosystem changes was
analyzed.
I Perhaps most pertinent to this study, Stephen Striffler studied banana culture in
3 southern Ecuador in the 20th century, from the standpoint of popular struggle and
agrarian restructuring in Ecuador. The author related how the Ecuadorian peasantry


I









gained and then lost control of the banana industry. Using history and anthropology,

Striffler concentrated on the human actors in the banana system and showed how,

although peasants were instrumental in dismantling foreign-owned plantation, they were

unable to handle the contract system of production, which had emerged in that country.

In order to nest his study, the author describes in detail the relations between

multinational fruit corporations, rural workers, agricultural production, and changes in

the system (including the environment) over the better part of the period 1900-1995

(2002)4.

Environmental Aspects of Certification and Forest Fragments

Importance of Coastal Ecuador for Biodiversity

A report "Research Priorities in Tropical Biology," commissioned by the National

Academy of Science highlighted the importance of coastal Ecuador in its summary and

recommendations. It stated it was important to give priority to areas containing the

richest biota, and biota in immediate danger of extinction. The authors suggested as areas

for emphasis the coastal forests of Ecuador, coastal southern Bahia and Espirito Santo in

Brazil, Eastern and southeastern Amazonia (Raven 1980).

Furthermore, they recommended that multidisciplinary efforts unfold on at least

two levels: (1) the investigation, in the tropical domain itself, of socioeconomic

dysfunctions, such as those produced by transplanted models of development, and (2) the

investigation of such dysfunctions in the broad perspective of national and international

linkages: historical, political, social and economic. Specifically, they emphasized that

knowledge of systemic characteristics of forest conversion demands research into the

4 Soluri (2001) also covers the role of multinational fruit corporations, and their interactions with local
communities in his Honduran agroecosystem study.









ways into which aboriginal, peasant, and urban-industrial societies perceive and relate to

the tropical milieus and regulate their use. The fact that these recommendations were

heeded little is evident in the fact that the RPSC forest is the only fragment of any

reasonable size extant in Los Rios Province, Coastal Ecuador.

Deforestation in Ecuador

In Ecuador, it is estimated that 340,000 ha are deforested every year. This

represents an annual loss of between 2.4% and 3.5% of total forest area. Ecuador is, in

relation to its size, perhaps the country with the highest plant diversity in the world, with

between 18,000 and 22,000 species of vascular plants (Ulloa and Jorgensen 1993,

Wunder 2001, 1994). Deforestation of the western foothills of the Andes is resulting in

the extinction of endemic species, the modification of ecological conditions, and the

interruption of evolutionary processes. Thus research into conservation in areas where

forest still exists is urgently needed (Cabarle 1989, Dodson and Gentry 1987).

Reserve Size

Conventional wisdom dictates that larger is better when it comes to nature

reserves. Economies of scale and proximity to other protected areas influence optimal

park size. Rapid expansion of private parks represents an important yet little understood

private-sector incursion into an activity long dominated by governments.

A study found that private parks require research into optimal reserve size so that

quality of protection takes precedence over quantity of land protected (Langholz et al.

2000). This point clearly applies to the Rio Palenque Science Center and Nature Reserve.

Langholz and others also noted that bequest value is particularly high for private reserve

owners. This issue is further discussed in Chapter 6.









Fragmentation

The Rio Palenque Science Center and Forest Reserve should more properly be

called the Forest Fragment Preserve. At only 90 ha in size, this unique forest could be in

danger from various negative effects that have been studied regarding similar forest

fragments. Thomas Lovejoy conducted the first neat, direct experimental test of effects

of fragmentation in the Brazilian Amazon.

Replicate isolates over a size range from one to 1,000 ha were studied prior to

isolation, and followed afterwards. The research team found that although bird diversity

is greatly decreased after the initial five months in which a "crowding effect" occurs,

these effects are not uniformly spread over bird species. Two important guilds are

particularly suppressed after isolation, army-ant, and mixed species ofinsectivores. The

distance by which fragments were separated from unaltered forests also made an

important difference, which varied among taxa.

Perhaps more disturbingly, 15 different species of pollinating insects would not

cross 100-meter cleared strips. This has both direct and indirect effects. The population

biology of at least 30 plant families was dramatically affected by reduced or lack of

pollination. Dung and Carrion feeding beetles responded similarly not crossing a 100-

meter barrier. The decomposition process is slowed. Mammalian extinction and survival

were an indication of the importance of both physical and biological edge effects.

Microclimate changes at the edges of newly isolated fragments were evident within days.

The more obvious ones are changes in light levels and in evaporative losses to dry winds









penetrating at the edge. Air temperature and relative humidity were both affected

(Lovejoy et al. 1984)5.

Other attempts to review the broader span of tropical forest fragmentation have

been undertaken. The studies reveal a relatively small set of causative factors that seem

collectively to explain loss of diversity attributable to tropical forest fragmentation.

These include:

Deforestation related disturbance;

Restriction of population sizes;

Reduced immigration;

Biotic and abiotic edge effects;

Higher order effects; and

Immigration of exotic species (Turner 1996).

According to a study published in Science, much of what remains of tropical

forest is being divided into small, isolated fragments that are unable to sustain their

original biodiversity. In many places, these are the last remnants of primary tropical

forest. Zones where forest edges are affected easily reach up to 1 km wide, and can

impact forest species and biological processes from 100 to 300 meters from the forest

edge. This means that forest fragments of up to 1,000 ha can easily be composed entirely

of edge-affected habitat (Gascon et al. 2000).

A final issue regarding rainforest fragment relates to seeds. Seeds that fall to the

ground in small fragments of tropical rainforest are three to seven times less likely to


5 For summary tables of edge effects in tropical forests fragments see Lovejoy et al. 1984.









sprout than those that fall in larger, continuous forest. Fragments are hotter and dryer,

and have more light penetrating the canopy to the forest floor than continuous forest do.

Those are not conditions that rainforest plants are adapted to, and new results

suggest that the seeds simply cannot survive. Furthermore, plants in fragments could

become inbred, which could make their seeds less likely to germinate in the first place.

Such inbreeding, coupled with edge effects, could push the reproduction rate so low that

the populations in forest fragments would eventually die away (Bruna 1999).

Many consequences of forest fragmentation are likely occurring within the RP

Forest Fragment Reserve. Urgent studies are needed in order to understand the site-

specific processes. Although this study does not address the ecological impacts through

zoological and botanical studies, it may contribute to mitigate negative effects, by

suggesting the creation of biological corridors between the reserve and natural areas on

banana plantations. This proposed connectivity might be useful in reducing patchiness

and allowing for a freer flow of species.

Environmental Certification

The history of environmental certification has its roots in different approaches to

forest certification. It is considered a remarkable social, economic, and historical

phenomenon. Within a relatively short time, environmental certification has solidified its

place as an integral tool for addressing a diversity of environmental issues and has

generated considerable controversy and debate. The combination of media attention,

public pressure, and market forces has created a web of interacting influences that can be

quite complex. However, the goal of certification is simple: its purpose is to ensure

management in accordance with a set of standards considered environmentally

appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable.










Certification recognizes that these management values have been achieved by

presenting a seal of approval that can be recognized by the public6 (Cabarle 1994, Kiker

and Putz 1997, Viana et al. 1996, Vogt et al. 2000). Other goals include "increasing

general consumer awareness of the environment; increasing consumer acceptance and

confidence; modifying consumer and manufacturer behavior; to improve the earth's

environmental quality; to increase market share; to provide product differentiation; to

provide an objective audit of the management of natural assets; to promote sustainable

management of these assets; and to demonstrate that natural resource management

provides sustainable economic, ecological, and social benefits" (Cabarle et al. 1995, cited

in Kiker and Putz 1997, p.38).

Kiker and Putz summed up the crux of environmental certification as follows.

Ultimately, the goal of certification processes must be to provide a means
for consumers to more precisely express their tastes, preferences, and
values in the marketplace. The hope is that consumers will respond by
purchasing the certified products and thereby provide greater financial
returns to natural resource managers using ecologically and socially sound
practices (1997).

Although the concept of sustainable forest management can be traced back

to the Middle Ages in Germany and France, the use of environmental certification

as a potential tool to deal with issues such as deforestation and massive pesticide

use can be traced to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and

Development (UNCED), known as Rio 92. After this watershed event, the first

sets of principles, criteria, and indicators were released on how sustainable forest

management should be conducted and developed for forest certification. Some


6 For an in-depth methodological and ideological discussion of ecological certification from an institutional
ecological economics viewpoint, see Kiker, C.F. and Putz, F.E. Also see Figure 6-2, in Ch. 6 of this study.









authors also suggest that environmental certification is a consequence of the

growth of environmental awareness in the 1960s and early 1970s spurred by the

pivotal pesticide expos Silent Spring (Carson 1962).

In the 1980s, the public in developed countries became outraged by the high rates

of deforestation that were occurring and demanded immediate solutions to this problem.

For most people, this problem was recognized to be more acute in developing countries,

where it was also linked to a serious disrespect for the human rights of indigenous

groups. These many viewpoints were important catalysts for environmental groups, more

strongly in Europe, to campaign to the boycott of the purchase of tropical forest products

(Viana et al. 1996). While governments responded with solutions that were regulatory in

nature, whether unilateral or not, some companies began proactive measures to deal with

the public concern. NGOs that have played important roles in the entire spectrum of

certification activities include Conservation International, Friends of the Earth

International, Greenpeace International, The World Conservation Union, The Nature

Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund International, The World Resources Institute, and the

Rainforest Alliance (Vogt et al. 2000). National and international meetings to debate

environmental certification, green seal, trade-related intellectual property rights,

protection and tariffs, the scientific merit of certification, and a host of other issues, have

taken place in fora that range from the United Nations, the European Community, the

United States Congress, and local grass-roots organizations7 (Vogt and Fanzeres 2000).





7 For a study of the business aspects of certification, especially wood products, see Jenkins and Smith 1999.
The Business of Sustainable Forestry: Strategies for an Industry in Transition.









Modeling as an Analytical Tool

Mathematical modeling has been used to analyze the relationship between

ecological and socioeconomic parameters in farming systems (Dykstra 1984, 1994,

Ragsdale 1997 in Thangata 2002, Upton and Dixon 1994). The first step in a region,

farm, agroecosystem, crop or animal system study is the construction of a qualitative

model of the unit under consideration. In the context of this framework, model building

involves identifying the inputs and outputs of the system of interest, the subsystems of

the system, the circuitry connecting these subsystems and the goals and constraints

influencing the system. The next step is to begin to quantify the relationships

hypothesized in the qualitative model, and to construct a quantitative model of the

system. The precision required depends upon how the model will be used.

Models represent a simplification of reality. Simplification involves assumptions,

which in effect are best estimations as to the structure and function of the unit under

study. The validity of these assumptions and the potential of the conceptual framework

can best be evaluated by applying the model to reality and analyzing the results (Hart

1980, Shiyomi and Koizumi 2001).

Qualitative models developed vary with the ecological and socioeconomic

conditions of a specific region, farm, agroecosystem, or crop or animal system.

However, these systems have general inherent characteristics that make it possible to

outline general qualitative models for each level of the hierarchy. For the farming

system, Linear Programming has been shown to be one excellent way of combining

several types of data, including qualitative data, into a quantitative analysis tool. An LP

model that reflects actual farm behavior requires a large amount of data. The choice of

modeling technique depends on the problem and the available resources. Positive





I
54

programming can be a valuable addition to the farm modelers' arsenal (Cabrera et al.

2002, Hall 2001, Kaya et al. 2000). |

Inputs and outputs into the agroecosystems of the farm system can be
grouped into information, energy, and materials categories. Information
enters an agroecosystem in the sense that human, animal, or machine
energy enters an agroecosystem as part of a management plan. Farm
system research requires not only the construction of a qualitative model
describing these relationships, but also a quantitative model where real
numbers are assigned to the farm system inputs and outputs and the flows
between the subsystems of the farm. The primary objective of farm
system research would be to use the model to identify possible
modifications of an existing farm system or to design a new farm system.
The constraints upon this design process, such as labor availability,
nutrition requirements of the family, etc. would be determined before the
generation of a new farm systems begins. The regional system and the
socioeconomic subsystem of the farm are studied to identify
socioeconomic constraints. Agroecosystems are studied to identify the
physical and biological constraints. The performance of the crop system
within the agroecosystem is regulated by managing the agroecosystem,
hence the importance of the human element (Hart 1980).
Agroecosystem research has the ultimate objective of modifying either the

management of the agroecosystem, the crop system, the livestock system or others. This

requires analytical objectives in order to understand how the system functions (build

qualitative and sometimes quantitative models), and also experiments comparing

potential modifications with existing agroecosystems in specific areas (Hart 1980).

These tests can conveniently be undertaken after careful fieldwork, using different types

of linear programs (Breuer 2000, Breuer et al. 2002, Cabrera et al. 2002, Mudhara 2002).

A brief explanation of model behavior in ecological studies must be given in I

order to address the validity of said methodologies. The British meteorologist Lorenz

first noticed erratic model behavior in 1960. An early computer model created to predict

climate was hypersensitive to slight changes in initial conditions. This property is a

fundamental characteristic of a phenomenon that has been termed chaos. Fairly regular,



I









long-term (asymptotic) patterns typical of many economic models give way to quasi-

periodic solutions. Often, these patterns result from the competition among distinct and

incompatible periods in the systems' dynamics, as can occur for example, when an

inherently oscillatory system is driven (forced) by a process such as seasonal demography

that possesses a distinct periodicity. In ecological systems as elsewhere, complexity and

chaotic behavior arise because processes interact on multiple scales (Lorenz 1963,

Mandelbrot 1977, cited in Levin 1991, Schaffer and Kot 1985).

Finally, it should be mentioned that some scientists reject the very notion that

sustainability can be quantified, and thus modeled. The argument is that quantification

tends to distort the research process inducing the researchers to choose quantifiable (but

less relevant) variables at the expense of other non-quantifiable (but conceptually more

important) ones. They are especially skeptical of numerical modeling of biological

systems, arguing that the internal consistency of these models does not compensate for

their lack of realism. Although there is undoubtedly some truth to this, agroecosystem

models-which simulate biological and socioeconomic livelihood systems-produce

results which suggest that often it is possible to quantify and model complex biological

systems without unacceptable loss of realism (MacRae et al. 1989, McCall and Kaplan

1985, cited in Harrington 1992).

Linear Programming

Linear programming is a well-established analytical tool used from industrial

engineering to space exploration. It has often been applied to commercial farming in

developed countries. Although several analytical tools and experimental designs have

been used to test sustainability, i.e. resilience and food security, this study uses linear









programming. Without detracting from the merits of other methods, LP presents several

advantages when working with agriculture and natural resources.

In the most basic sense, an LP model is a tool for economic analysis based upon

constrained optimization. That is, it employs a mathematical algorithm, the simplex

method (Dantzig 1963), to search for the optimal solution to a problem of allocating

constrained resources-typically land, labor, and capital-to various alternative means of

production. LP models are mathematically based models of optimization. In the models,

a linear objective function is maximized or minimized subject to linear inequality

constraints. LP models have been used extensively to formulate farm plans (Hazell and

Norton 1986)8.

A linear program is an optimization model that solves a series of inequalities

subject to certain specified constraints. The general formula being:

Max (or Min): 1 = YiCjXj where j = 1...n

Subject to: liAijXj <= Ri where i = 1...m

And Xi >= 0

It is essentially a heuristic tool designed to simulate the natural or mental process of

resource allocation. It has been used extensively in applied psychology (Langholtz et al.

2001)9. Linear programming was at the core of the early work that eventually led to the

2000 Nobel Prize in economics for Daniel McFadden, of UC Berkeley and James

Heckman of the University of Chicago. They were lauded for the development of theory

8 Hazell and Norton (1986), McCarl and Spreen (1999), and Paris (1991) are recommended texts for
detailed, technical presentations of LP methodology as applied to agricultural production and farming
systems.

9 The study of resource-allocation behavior was particularly relevant to decision-making regarding
peacekeeping. See Langholtz et al. 2001. Other work in this area can be found in The Journal of
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.









and methods for analyzing discrete.choice. They had-useditto study household decision-

making processes of constituents with regard to federal policies that may affect them.

(www.almaz.com/nobel/economics/2000b.html). The basic tool of economic analysis of

small farm livelihood systems, since it concerns household decision-making is also linear

programming (Hildebrand and Sullivan 2002).

Ethnographic Linear Programming

In the late 1990s, a group of researchers at the University of Florida, who had

been using linear programming for economic analysis of small-farm livelihood systems,

began examining methods for obtainingbetter data. A novel way of understanding.

farming systems was the result. In this methodology, data are gathered ethnographically.

Researchers from several departments employed the technique at sites as diverse

as the Andes highlands, Zimbabwe, Mali, Malawi, Coastal Ecuador, and Eastern

Paraguay (Bastidas 2001, Breuer 2000, Grier 2002,Kaya et al 2000, Mudhara2002,

Thangata 2002). Early work was reported at a pivotal conference in Guelph, Canada

(2000). Breuer (2000, p.75) coined the term "ethnographic linear programming" in his

thesis on medicinal plant cultivation in limited resource livelihood systems in Paraguay.

Since this time interest has been growing in the use and application of ELP methodology.

ELP is a tool within FSRE, and applicable to integrated natural resource management

(INRM) and sustainable livelihoods analysis (SLA).

ELPs are a way of quantifying ethnographic data (mostly qualitative) and are both

descriptive and analytic. The descriptive models are developed to help researchers

understand the complexity and diversity of these systems, and ultimately to simulate the

systems. Once the simulations are validated, the models are used analytically to assess

differential adoption or rejection of potential technologies or the potential impacts on









households of proposed infrastructure of policy changes, or the effect of stresses and

shocks (Kaya et al. 2000). Farmers are asked questions about food, fiber, and medicinal

plant sources, cash production and handling, and constraints on land, labor, cash, and

infrastructure.

This process was used in research for the present study in November 2000, July-

August 2001, and February-March 2002. Research was conducted in farmers' and

workers' dwellings, fields, and at markets. The openness and hospitality of local farmers

allowed the researcher to spend extended periods of time on many farms and participate

in everyday activities. Both male and female farmers were approached and were able to

provide, through informal conversation and survey instruments, valuable information

needed in order to simulate the livelihood system in a computer mode.

Ethnographic linear programming is effective in evaluating various policy

instruments, and assists in uncovering farm household decision-making regarding land

planning and allocation. This is because it takes into account three important aspects

observed by Kuyvenhoven et al. (1999):

Available resource endowment (land, labor, capital).

Multiple objectives of the farm household (profit or end-year cash, home food

consumption, desire for education, etc.); and

Market conditions (prices, access, etc.).

Participatory Linear Programming

Ethnographic Linear Programming (ELP) may coincide with (though not

necessarily) Participatory Linear programming (PLP). In the latter technique, while

eliciting information from farmers, the researcher or extensionist-laptop in hand-

calibrates input coefficients and validates outcomes with the help of the farmer and his









family. PLP may allow for tailor-made.extension in-the near.future. In study of

potential use of improved climate forecasting among Florida livestock producers, Breuer

and others (2002, in review) used PLP to. calibrate.and.validate-livestock production

models. In developing-country research, both Paul Thangata (2002) and Maxwell

Mudhara (2002) in Malawi and Zimbabwe, respectively, have shown the value of taking

the laptop to the hut. PLP was used in the current study in Ecuador for the small-scale

farm and worker household models.

Linear Programming and-Agriculture

Linear programming (LP) based multi-year farm planning models are well

established (e.g. Loftsgard and Heady 1959 in Glen and Tipper 2001). Researchers-have

used linear programming models to determine capital dependent, steady-state cultivation

policies, optimal water allocation, cropping patterns, and the effectiveness of policy

instruments targeting farmers support (Caskie et al. 2001, Doppler et al. 2002, Haouari

and Azaiez 2001, Oweis and Hachum 2001).

Linear programming (LP) has been extensively used to model irrigation systems

in Australia and elsewhere. Heterogeneous farm-household models that capture social

and spatial interactions explicitly, and the individual choice of the farm household among

available production, consumption, investment, and marketing alternatives have also been

represented in recursive linear programming models. Adoption constraints were

introduced in the form of network-threshold values that reflect the cumulative effects of

experience and observation of peers' experiences (Berger 2001, Hall 2001).

The fact that in complex decision problems, some objectives are not well

quantified or are not introduced explicitly in optimization models is an apparent

limitation of models. Solutions that are nearly optimal, i.e. deviating less than a









predefined percentage from the optimal value of the quantified objective functions, can

constitute interesting alternatives for stakeholders. A study with a model developed to

design farming systems in the Netherlands, showed that nearly optimal solutions provide

relevant information to resolve complex decision problems (Makowski et al. 2001).

Peasant farm households in Malawi were modeled in a study designed to evaluate

the need to allow for embedded risk. Discrete Stochastic Programming (DSP) provided

more efficient solutions for problems with embedded risks. The study showed that labor-

scarce households adopt more tactical, sequential responses to uncertainty, especially

those households with limited access to capital and credit markets (Dorward 1999).

The impact of agriculture on land-use patterns, the environment and socio-

economics of a region, were incorporated into a farm-type linear programming sub-model

with environmental and socio-economic sub-models. In the environmental model, the

environmental factors and management practices for different land cover classifications

that were relevant to farm activity were defined. Management practice changes and the

land cover type of the 10 nearest parcels of land were used to determine the likelihood of

a parcel of land changing its associated vegetation type (Topp and Mitchell 2001).

A study of melina (known alternately as gomelina) (Gmelina arborea) and teak

(Tectona grandis) plantations on land suited for agriculture in the humid tropical Atlantic

lowlands of Costa Rica used a linear programming model that maximized regional

economic surplus, and the so-called technical coefficient generators that quantify input

and outputs of forestry and competing crop and pasture-based beef cattle production

systems. Results indicate that teak and Melina plantations are attractive land use options

while managed natural forest is not. The model also predicted that diversity in the









landscape would be reduced and changes in farm output would result in falling incomes

and employment across the region (Nieuwenhuyse et al. 2000).

These studies lie at the interface between purely agricultural production studies

using LP, and another group of studies, which apply LP to sustainability. A linear

programming model was constructed based on availability of various energy sources and

requirements of various human and agricultural activities in Tamil Nadu, India. The

model optimized allocation of land and energy. Since the model is adaptable to other

local conditions, it can have universal application for sustainable agricultural

development (Raja 1997). Terry Kelly (1995) used recursive linear programming in a

bioeconomic systems approach to sustainability analysis at the farm level. This study

presents how sustainability can be achieved and maintained.on a North Floridapeanut

farm. The value of this early study is in attempting to define measurable sustainability

indicators, which had confounded some earlier researchers, and then proceeding.to LP

analysis with viable outcomes.

Linear Programming Applied to Farm Household.Analysis

In farming systems LP models, the optimal solution is determined by the

objective function. This often involves a combination of maximizing.returns from

household production while meeting certain other household goals such as food security

(Bernet et al. 2001, Hazell and Norton 1986, Pannel 1997, Schilizze and Boulier 1997).

By producing a LP model that, albeit in a simplified manner, represents a real-

world livelihood system, it is then possible to run relatively inexpensive assessments of

both policy scenarios and project ideas generated by extension agencies and policy-

makers (Bernet et al. 2001, p.184). In this way researchers and extension agents can test

production alternatives in the virtual livelihood system which will give a rough prediction









of how the real world might respond-as seen through a change in livelihood strategies

(Hazell and Norton 1986, Pannel 1997, Schilizze and Boulier 1997).

Ellis (1993) observed that, in reality, smallholder farmers maximize "profits"

subject to trade-offs with other goals, resource constraints and performance of markets.

Further, he noted that the profits do not have to be in the form of money. Adjustment of

inputs and outputs should give the household a higher net income. In this case, profit can

be interpreted as end of year, or discretionary cash (after taking care of home

consumption).

LP models can handle multiple crop activities. Effects of changes in decisions on

the various crops can be determined (Singh and Subramanian 1986). Effects of

technology and changes in market variables on the objective function can be traced in the

LP model. Decisions on allocation of expenditure to different goods, and the allocation

of fixed and variable inputs to different production activities in the short run can be

incorporated. In any production cycle, a household objective function can be imposed

subject to given constraints. LP models are flexible to changes in assumptions, technical

coefficients and activities in the farming system. The marginal effects of such changes

can also be pursued.

In reality, farmers often consider several aspects of their welfare when making

these decisions (Sen 1985). This attribute can be addressed in LP models since profit

maximization does not need to be the only goal. Other objectives like minimizing labor

use can also be accommodated. Multiple objectives such as maximizing revenue after

satisfying subsistence requirements can be incorporated in the model.









Crop techniques that might be used by farmers can be introduced into the LP

matrix (Bade et al. 1996, Sicular 1986, Timmer et al. 1983). Activities are added to

existing crop and input activities to assess the likely reaction of farmers when presented

with new technologies, or shocks (Mudhara 2002). Linear programming (LP) is a cost-

effective way of understanding farm household responses to pricing policies, input use,

and shocks. It is useful for solving problems that deal with the allocation of limited

resources among various activities to achieve a particular objective.

Linear programming models in farming systems analysis differ from statistical

models. They are based principally upon a mechanistic rather than probabilistic

understanding of the system at hand (Bernet et al. 2001, Hazell and Norton 1986).

Linear Programming and Sustainability

Several studies have used linear programming to approach the issue of

sustainability. As the complexities of agroecosystems are incorporated into models over

multiple spatial and temporal scales, useful results are still obtainable. Of these, several

stand out. The use of linear programming (LP) models in the assessment of

socioeconomic sustainability prior to implementation can bring the planning process for

extension projects closer to the reality of small farmers (Bernet et al. 2001, Hazell and

Norton 1986, Kaya et al. 2000, Pannel 1997, Sulser 2001).

In Australia, modeling sustainable management at the regional level was

undertaken. In it, the authors explicitly attempt to reduce the complexity common

ecological systems models at different scales. The research showed that computer

optimization using linear programming can solve integrative forest resource models at a

resolution suitable for operational planning for forest regions where normally at least two

levels of planning would be applied (Turner et al. 2002).









In a similar study involving multiple scales a framework for integrated

biophysical and economic land use called sustainable options for land use (SOLUS), was

developed over a 10-year period of investigation in the Northern Atlantic Zone of Costa

Rica and encompasses scale levels that range from field to region. Biophysical and

economic disciplines are integrated and various types of knowledge, ranging from

empirical expert judgment to deterministic process models are synthesized in a systems-

analytical manner. Examples of application of SOLUS in the Northern Atlantic Zone of

Costa Rica show that introduction of alternative technologies may result in situations that

satisfy both economic and biophysical sustainability. On the other hand, negative trade-

offs were found among different dimensions of biophysical sustainability themselves

(Bouman et al. 1999).

This Costa Rica study was followed by another by the same team in which

economic and biophysical sustainability trade-offs in land use exploration at the regional

level were quantified. A methodology was presented for exploration of sustainable land

use options at the regional level by quantifying trade-offs between socio-economic and

biophysical sustainability objectives. The linear programming model maximizes regional

economic surplus subject to a flexible number of resource and sustainability constraints.

Though ample scope was found to exist for reducing environmental effects and

introducing sustainable production systems separately, pursuing both objectives

simultaneously considerably reduces economic surplus and agricultural employment.

Agricultural area can be decreased and forested area increased without severely affecting

the regional economic surplus (Bouman et al. 1998).









The issue of modeling multiple objectives for land use change was tackled

through interdisciplinary research in a 1999 study. The authors began from the premise

that sustainable development is not readily measurable, except as a compromise between

different parts of society, of which some may try to represent future generations of

mankind. To determine a sustainable development path in the relationship between

agriculture and its natural environment, a profound knowledge of this complex system

and its behavior under different socio-economic conditions was necessary.

A modeling system consisting of a set of hierarchically linked modules was

developed. The heart of the modeling system was a multiple-goal linear programming

model. Simulation of single farm models and regional models based on simultaneously

optimized farm types was possible. The modeling system appeared to be a highly

flexible tool with respect to the number and type of farms, sites, and production

techniques. Environmental objectives were included, and different levels of goal

achievement simulated (Zander and Kachele 1999).

Public policy is another area where linear programming proved useful in one

study for identifying ecologically and economically efficient and sustainable use of

agricultural landscapes. In farms and rural family households, basic decisions are taken

on the intensity of agricultural landscape use. Guiding landscape use in the right

direction is a difficult task for public decision makers because ecologically and

economically efficient and sustainable uses of agricultural landscapes are ill defined. The

author points out that this problem results from unknown values, unknown interrelations

between technology and nature, and unknown evolutionary processes in nature and in

societies. Thus, there is a broad area for speculation about optimal landscape use. In a





I
66

study of an agricultural landscape in Southern Germany, eight parts of a naturally
homogeneous region were analyzed using multicriteria valuation, linear programming
and trade-off analyses, the author shows that speculation can be minimized. Efficient
agricultural policy options were revealed for the simultaneous achievement of ecological
and economic efficiency and sustainability (Werner 1993). I

Another study from Costa Rica, a country that seems to be especially rich in I
sustainability studies, looked at the farm level trade-offs of intensifying tropical milk
production. Bottlenecks to intensification and how they affect choices between more and I
less sustainable practices were identified. A linear programming model of a highland I
dairy farm was constructed to simulate farmer decision-making. Significant economic
and environmental trade-offs were found. Land intensification was found not to be U
economic unless researchers can provide laborsaving devices appropriate for small farms I
or improve protein content of forages. Since the value of land for producing milk
exceeds clearing costs in nearly all models, compliance with land use controls to improve I
environmental sustainability is unlikely. Finally, it was found that targeting input and I
credit subsidies to inputs, which improve labor productivity and encourage
environmentally sustainable practices would mitigate economic and environmental trade-

offs in milk production (Griffith and Zepeda 1994).
In a similar study, linear programming was used to explore the sustainability of
beef cattle ranching in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. Breeding and fattening systems

were compared using N depletion as an indicator. The study attempted to break the

popular view of the "tropical forest-livestock connection" by showing that long-term N


I

I









mining can be avoided and cattle production can be sustainable even under humid

tropical rainforest conditions (Bouman and Nieuwenhuyse 1999).

Rural Development and Natural Resource Management

The history of development economics can roughly be divided into two periods:

the economic-growth-and-modernization era of the 1950s and the 1960s, when

development was defined largely in terms of growth in average per capital output; and the

growth-with-equity period since around 1970, when the concern of most development

economists broadened to include income distribution, employment, nutrition, and a host

of other variables. The prevailing view of agriculture's role in development changed

profoundly during these two periods (Eicher and Staatz 1984).

During the reconstruction of Europe through the Marshall plan, Americans and

researchers from other developed nations became aware that many countries were living

in a state ofunderdevelopment. This set off a series of projects basically aimed at

strengthening countries' economies through industrialization and infrastructure schemes.

Agriculture was not a focus of serious development research at this time. Even today, the

role of infrastructure is recognized by the president of the Rockefeller Foundation as

crucial to development.

Accelerated growth in agricultural output cannot be maintained without
adequate investments in rural infrastructure and in agricultural research
and extension. Indeed, without such investment the results of
liberalization policies may well fall short of expectations and set
governments against market-oriented approaches (Conway 1997, p.39).

Some enlightened economists, however, saw many positive aspects about

agriculture and its role in development. Johnston and Mellor (1961) for example,

argued that agriculture could provide five important contributions to structural









transformation: labor, capital, foreign exchange, food for a growing industrial

sector, and a market for domestically produced industrial goods.

Afterward, development economics moved to community development

projects, which assumed western values could be directly transferred to third

world communities. A major setback was a series of political disasters that struck

from the 1960s onward. These seemed to be somehow related to the stresses and

strains accompanying development and "modernization." This gave pause to

development specialists who had cultivated development economics impelled by

a vision of a better world. Most had presumed that all good things go together,

and many were shocked that economic growth entailed, not infrequently, a

sequence of events involving serious regression in other areas including a

wholesale loss of civil and human rights (Hirschman 1981).

Also beginning in the mid-1960s and continuing into the 1970s, scientists began

to apply technology and management to world agricultural systems. They began by

developing new strains of corn, wheat, rice, and other staple crops. Total grain

production increased dramatically even as world population continued to climb.

However, these potentially high-yielding varieties required intensive management, and

large amounts of external inputs. Farmers the world over were encouraged to plant these

new strains as monocultures, promising huge economic returns and increased regional

productivity.

This improvement in agricultural production can be linked to the proliferation of

irrigation, the more intensive use of fertilizer and plant protection chemicals, along with

the development of new crop varieties. These simultaneous developments resulted in









cropping systems that are capable of responding to higher levels of inputs and

management.

The higher crop yields attained during the first green revolution were most
readily achieved in robust soil areas. In those areas where agricultural
production expanded most rapidly, the rural poor benefited; but, overall, it
was the urban poor who were clearly the beneficiaries of the green
revolution. Technologies that will enhance the productivity and the
incomes of farmers living in poorer soil and resource locations are now
needed (Ruttan 1997, p.v).

Early enthusiasts for the tremendous increases in agricultural production met

strong early criticism by Frankel (1971), Griffin (1974), Lipton (1977), and others. They

argued that changes benefited mainly wealthy landlords and large farms in ecologically

favored areas, while they frequently impoverished small farmers and tenants, especially

in upland areas (Hayami and Ruttan 1985).

Dependency theorists argued that unequal terms of trade favored importation of

manufactured goods and the export of raw agricultural goods. These policies limited the

internal markets for consumer goods and led to the impoverishment of the mass of small

farmers (de Janvry 1981, Prebisch 1959, 1981). Johnston and Kilby (1975) showed that

broad-based agricultural growth was more effective than estate (plantation or hacienda)

production in stimulating demand for industrial products (whether these be in-country

produced or imported) and hence speeded structural transformation of the economy.

The period was pervaded by abstract theorizing at the macro level along with a lack

of attention to the need for technological change in agriculture and a lack of attention to

the biological, environmental, and location-specific nature of agricultural production

processes. Furthermore, there was little solid foundation based on empirical research at

the farm and village level. Recognition of these failures was an important element that

led to new approaches in agricultural research beginning in the 1970s (Collinson 2001,






70

Hildebrand 1986). Conway (1990) searching for approaches to address those "left

behind" by the Green Revolution, recognized the importance of the more subtle i

relationships between rural development and local knowledge and institutions as follows:

The large highly mechanized farms of the industrialized countries are a
consequence of government policies and, in particular, programs of
subsidies intended to ensure high standards of living for farmers. It is
also, though, a process that has led to considerable reduction in the size of
the farming community and a loss of the traditional family farm. In the
developing countries, similar trends are occurring on those well-favored
lands, which have been subject to the Green Revolution, with dramatic
changes in the nature and structure of traditional societies. Elsewhere, on
the more marginal lands where agriculture is relatively stagnant, there is a
growing appreciation of the role of village institutions and family
relationships in agricultural development (Gordon Conway 1990, p.207).

By 1970, it had also become apparent that urban industry in most countries could

not expand quickly enough in the short term to provide employment for the expanding I

labor force. Hence, the concern of development planners shifted to finding ways to hold i

people in the countryside (Eicher et al. 1970). The downside of this, especially in

regarding the "poles of development" projects, was an attraction of too many people to a I

particular region, thus overtaxing the natural resource base (Popenoe pers. comm. 2001). 3

Yet the need still exists, especially in Latin America, where landlessness is an

important issue (Barsky 1984, Binswanger and Landell-Mills 1995, de Almeida 1995, de

Janvry 1981, Form and Blum 1965). There are and will continue to be many limited-

resource small-scale farmers. Among the many reasons for this, one theory explains in

part, why this phenomenon occurs.

The different processes of wage determination in the traditional and
modern sectors give rise to "labor market dualism." Although the implicit
wage of workers in the traditional sector (based on their average
productivity) is not necessarily lower than the modern sector wage level
(based on marginal productivity), it generally is so, due to the low
opportunity cost of labor in the traditional sector. Large numbers of
workers remain in the traditional agriculture despite low wages, due either


I









to ignorance of better opportunities outside agriculture, or to their inability
to obtain a modem sector job despite wishing to do so, or to the costs of
moving being unacceptably high (including the cost of giving up the
relative security of remaining at home) in relation to the expected wage
premium (Todaro 1969 in Ghatak and Ingersent 1984, p.8).

In the early 1980s, World Bank economists began calling greater attention to food

security, nutrition, health, and other basic needs. Becker (1965) introduced the new

household economics theory that considers households as unified units of production and

consumption. Household modeling in which households have one utility function are

appropriate for smallholder farmers. In the new household economics theory, households

maximize utility subject to a resource and time constraint.

Schultz (1964), and Lipton (1977), in arguing that traditional farmers are efficient

allocators of available resources given their knowledge of technologies, set the stage for

Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSRE), which creates disequilibrium within

systems with new technology, thus allowing for reallocation to a higher level of

productivity (Hildebrand in Jones and Street 1990). The Farming Systems Research-

Extension methodology, for working at the microeconomic level with farmers, is a

practical focus to attain these ends. Further detail on the FSRE approach is given on

Chapter 5 of this dissertation. In the late 1990s, many FSRE concepts were incorporated

into projects that differed little fundamentally from those of earlier years, but received the

name of Natural Resource Management projects, a title more in keeping with current

funding attitudes.

Rural development now calls for increased agricultural output, but also for

sustainability and equitable distribution or social justice (Altieri 2000, 2001, Chambers

1983, Conway 1985). Years before environmentalists began calling for a sustainability

approach, two distinct schools of thought merged to form what has come to be known as









the human development paradigm. These were the basic needs approach oful Haq and

Streeten, on the one hand; and the human development paradigm of Indian economist

Amartya Sen on the other (Sen 1981, 1992, cited in Wise 2001, Streeten et al. 1981). The

latter uses the terms capabilities and functioning in the same sense that activities and

strategies are used in the present study. Capabilities and activities refer to the sets of

choices available to different individuals in groups within society. Functioning and

strategies refer to the options actually chosen by the individuals. Interdisciplinary

research is essential to this new notion of nonlinear development work (Flora pers.

comm. 2002).

Experience suggests that many, if not most, of the crucial questions for agricultural

development lie not in one province or another, but at their intersection. In the optimistic

words of Robert Chambers:

A massive shift in priorities and thinking is taking place, from things and
infrastructure to people and capabilities. Consonant with this shift, five
words, taken together seem to capture and express much of an emerging
consensus. These are well-being, livelihood, capability, equity, and
sustainability. The objective of development is well-being for all.
Livelihood security is basic to well-being. Capabilities are means to
livelihood and well-being. The poor, weak, vulnerable and exploited
should some first. To be good, conditions and change must be
sustainable-economically, socially, institutionally, and environmentally
(1997, p.9)'.

This study takes this human-centered approach. Sustainability is sought not as an

end in itself, but as a means of improving food security, local livelihoods, and overall

socioeconomic stability.




10 For greater detail on equity issues see Whose Reality Counts: Putting the first last, by Robert Chambers,
1997, pp.9-14. Also the various works of Amartya Sen and David Korten.









Summary

This literature has attempted to paint a picture of how interdisciplinary research

can relate sustainability and resilience, food security and improved livelihoods. It has

further delved into resilience as a concept, an indicator and an emergent property,

attempting to tie together some of the underpinnings and prevailing theories in the area.

We have described both historically and theoretically, why the systems approach is ever

more useful for description and analysis of complex and diverse systems. In an important

sub-theme, three major studies on banana-dominated agroecosystems, similar to the one

being analyzed in this dissertation are mentioned.

Because most hypotheses guiding this research are examined using mathematical

simulation models, the literature on modeling as an analytical tool, in general, and more

specific works on ethnographic and participatory linear programming were listed and

briefly described. Specific studies in which linear programming has been used for

agricultural and sustainability research were reviewed. Finally, a section on rural

development and natural resource management, seen in a broad overview of its evolution

from the 1950s to the present was presented. The literature review is summed up and

ends on an optimistic quote from Robert Chambers regarding the direction of future

development work. It is hoped that this work is a grain of sand on the path described by

the eminent Briton.

In the next chapter, the first component of the agrosocioecosystem will be

described. It refers to the commercial banana system in the research area. Chapters will

follow on the other three components of the agrosocioecosystem. Data will then be

brought together for analysis, conclusions, and discussion.





I

I

I

CHAPTER 3I
COMMERCIAL BANANA PLANTATION SYSTEM
Introduction I
A thorough analysis of the agrosocioecosystem under study could not be
undertaken without the inclusion of the most important component of the system, the
commercial banana plantation system. The size, extent, and reach of the banana |
haciendas into the lives of so many that reside in the study area are impossible to
overlook. The banana haciendas play a role similar to a manufacturing industry in the
sense that they provide the greatest amount of employment available in the area (Lewis
1954). They are industrial-type, or "hard systems." I
An industry that provides over 40% of agricultural exports for a country cannot be
dealt with lightly. Nor can research recommendations suggest doing away with the I
activity altogether with a notion that other source of production are better and should i
therefore replace commercial bananas. My work seeks to suggest ways in which some of
the aspects that may make small-scale agriculture agroecologically socially sustainable,
and economically more equitable can be incorporated into a larger system dominated by
commercial banana production.
The study hypothesized that small-scale farm households are better able to U
survive stress and shocks than town-dwelling plantation workers. If this were true, then
transferring a number of plantation workers living in local towns to small farms would
make the overall system more resilient. Furthermore, if amenities such as schools,
clinics, etc. were provided, it would reduce out migration, creating further worker 3

74









stability in the area. Additionally, the research suggested this could be achieved without

negatively affecting the commercial banana system.

One way to obtain these positive changes may be by establishing small-farm

homes where banana plantation workers can provide for a good percentage of their

nutritional needs. Plantation workers' salaries are low. Higher salaries would most

likely take Ecuador out of competition with other purveyors of the fruit, especially

Central America, where the three largest multinational banana corporations own nearly

70% of the land in production (Vandermeer and Perfecto 1999). It is useful (though

disheartening) to remember David Ricardo's 1820 "iron law" regarding wages: "Labor,

like all other things, which are purchased and sold, and which may be increased or

diminish in quantity, has its natural and its market price. The natural price of labor is that

price which is necessary to enable the laborers to subsist and perpetuate their race,

without increase or diminution (cited in Galbraith 1958, p.33)."

If wages cannot be raised, and yet, ways to improve the livelihoods of plantation

workers are needed, altering the condition of some of the workers from landless to landed

may be an option. With an open mindset, and a firm belief that enterprises should

provide the greatest societal welfare, a relatively simple restructuring of living

arrangements may lead to greater food security, well-being, and enhanced long-term

economic stability for the commercial banana sub-sector of the economy.

Background

Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. Yet, bananas

do not grow outside the tropics. Hundreds of millions of people in developed countries

are provided with bananas through the highly developed banana production system.

Although they are one of the most common fruits, bananas were considered to be exotic









and hard to obtain until the 20th century. It is only during the past 100 years, and

especially since World War II, that bananas have become a common food item in the

United States, Europe and Japan.

Countries with large populations that also have part of their territory in tropical

zones produce a great deal of bananas. India, Brazil, and Indonesia are huge producers of

the fruit, but most of what they produce is consumed within their borders. Another group

of countries, generally located within the tropics and with relatively small populations,

have a specialized banana production and export industry. These countries include the

Philippines (the largest supplier for the Japanese market), several West African countries

that supply part of Europe's needs, and especially the Central American countries and

Ecuador. A series of interesting conditions have converged to make Ecuador, above all

these, the largest banana exporter in the world.

The objectives of this chapter are to describe the commercial banana system as it is

practiced in Los Rios Province through the eyes of the people directly involved. An

increased understanding of the mechanics and subtleties of banana production and

commercialization is sought through extensive references to interviews. Land, labor,

capital, and management are explored as production resources. Agronomic issues and

cultural practices are described. Environmental certification is briefly discussed (further

discussion is in Chapter 6). A brief history of banana production in Ecuador, which

follows, is necessary for understanding this chapter and the overall dissertation.

Banana Production in Ecuador

Banana production in the study area is the industrial, or commercial agricultural

element of a dualistic agricultural system in the study site (Lewis 1954, Ruthenberg

1980) for much of the 20th century and into the 21st it has been that way. The other half










of the duality is near-subsistence farming. Small-scale farming has existed in Ecuador

from pre-Columbian times. Bananas, however, are not native to Ecuador. It was only

after the European encounter that the species was introduced (probably from the Canary

Islands then Panama) sometime in the 16th century (May and Plaza, 1958). Along with

plantains, bananas became a mainstay of slash and burn agricultural plots on the western

coast. But it was not until foreign interest began studying the possibility of production in

Ecuador that formal commercial plantations were installed.

Before the 1960s, bananas could not be cultivated on the same land for more than

10 years. This made their cultivation ideal for large companies. The United Fruit

Company for example owned vast tracts of land in Costa Rica and Panama until the

Panama disease' devastated production in both countries. This led to a search for

disease-free production sites. These included Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico,

and eventually Ecuador. Ecuador was last on the list for a variety of reasons. American

companies were hesitant to get into Ecuador in part because of the rugged nature of the

coast and the lack of good transportation and port facilities (Striffler 2002).

It was out of this continual search for new lands and a cheap, docile labor force

that companies entered Ecuador and began exploring sites in the late 1920s. Cacao

production on the Ecuadorian coast had collapsed leaving large quantities of land and

labor available. Since Ecuador had never produced bananas on a large scale, Panama

disease was largely absent and workers had no experience in dealing with foreign banana

companies. In 1934, United Fruit (now known as Chiquita Brands) purchased a 100,000


' A fungal disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. There are 4 races of this pathogen
recognized to date.









ha tract in southern Ecuador. They were not the first. Two Chilean companies, and one

Swedish operation had been working for some time, albeit on a small-scale (Larrea 1992,

Striffler 2002).

During the 1940s and 1950s, United Fruit built much infrastructure including a

system of railroads and network of roads and warehouses needed for housing, feeding,

and otherwise maintaining thousands of workers. "United Fruit was the largest producer

of bananas in Ecuador from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. They employed 2,000

workers and exported 80,000 stems/week (Striffler 2002, p. 13)." The many social and

political problems associated with the Central American model eventually led the

multinationals to adopt the alternate model of contract farming.

Aside from moving to new areas, multinational companies also spread their risk

by contracting to local producers. This was done on an experimental basis until the

1970s when it became the most common practice, especially in Ecuador. The principal

problem was a political one of land tenure. Confident that banana exports would

continue to flow from a variety of sources, companies could afford to wait out strikes,

repress workers, or simply abandon production, in certain places ibidd, 2002).

However, the relative absence of multinationals from direct production did not

make the Ecuadorian banana industry more independent. It simply made domestic

producers more vulnerable. Ecuador's role as the world's largest banana exporter has

often been attributed to excellent conditions and highly developed marketing skills. In

fact, however, the country functions as a secondary or reserve supplier (Espinel 2002,

Striffler 2002). Ecuadorian bananas are less expensive, and come into their peek during

the off-season for Central American fruit.









By some accounts, coastal Ecuador is not agroecologically an ideal place to

produce bananas. Although soil quality is very good, average yearly sunlight hours are

rather low (Nifiez Torres 1998), and the dry season is "too dry for too long," which

causes plant stress that takes a long time to recover (a commercial banana plantation

manager in the study area pers. comm. 2002). Furthermore, whereas the Gros Michel

variety grown in the first half of the 20th century required large quantities of land, the

newer Cavendish varieties need a very high level of inputs. Conventional wisdom

dictates that from 20 to 50 ha are essential to produce Cavendish. Because of the

advantages of economies of scale, even larger areas are better.

The use of national capital, labor force, initiative in production, and marketing,

have distinguished Ecuador from some other banana producing countries. Currently,

Ecuadorian companies grow 100% of Ecuadorian banana production, and national

companies market approximately 70% of output.

Methods

Banana production in the study area is a vast, complex, and highly organized

enterprise. Qualitative information was considered the most important data to be

gathered in the study. Production and export statistics are available on line and from a

variety of other sources. In order to attempt to grasp the main actors, issues, and drivers

of this component of the Rio Palenque agrosocioecosystem, methods pertaining both to

Farming Systems Research and Extension, and to quantitative and qualitative research

methods in anthropology (Bernard 1995) were employed. An initial transect was run to

have an overview of the presence of the banana sector in the research area. Interviews

were conducted with an important banana company's managers. These interviews were

held in a variety of settings, including company headquarters in Guayaquil, the main









commercial office in Quevedo, the hub of the northern production zone, and in vehicles

traveling between sites. Extensive interviews were held with the vice-president of a

major Ecuadorian banana corporation. The general manager and other top executives

were also interviewed. Questions were direct and answers were frank, clear and without

hesitation.

Farm visits, both on company-owned haciendas and those of independent

producers were used to gather data from an array of different sources. Ecuadorian and

Costa Rican agricultural engineers working as managers provided important insight,

especially regarding the comparison of the Ecuadorian banana system to that of their

home country. Hacienda foremen provided useful information regarding agronomic

techniques and cultural practices, labor costs and organization, and information on the

packing process and certification. Others interviewed on farms included packing gang

workers, field workers, cooks, office personnel, and drivers. Each one of these played

their part in filling in gaps regarding practices, customs and relationships. Another

important technique used was the identification of key informants (Bernard 1995,

Rhoades 1982).

These persons with whom the author came into contact as early as November

2000, proved to be crucial during subsequent field research in July-August 2001 and

February-March, 2002. As with any well identified and collaborative key informants, the

managers, biologists, social workers, several hacienda workers, and a local politician,

more than made up what they lacked in numbers by the breadth and scope of their

knowledge of the banana production system, from its history, nuts and bolts, to the nitty

gritty of buying and selling, and labor issues.









Finally, secondary data from a wide range of sources including Ecuadorian

government statistics, NGO reports, FAO statistics, traditional library sources and the

Internet were gathered. Numerical data corresponding to commercial banana production

are summarized in tables, and can be found in Appendix B of this dissertation. These data

will be used as input coefficients for the linear programming analysis that is conducted in

Chapter 7.

Importance of Bananas to the Ecuadorian Economy

United Fruit, Dole, and Del Monte, the three major multinational banana

companies, are not direct producers in Ecuador. Ecuador differs from other banana

producing countries, such as Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, and even

Colombia, in that there is a wide diversity of landholdings in banana production (Espinel

2002).

Around 6,000 banana-producing units existed in Ecuador in 1998. These can be

divided into four categories according to plantation size. Nearly 80% of production is on

farms smaller than 30 ha. Therefore, the productive structure of the banana sector in

Ecuador depends largely on small and medium producers (SICA 1998). One of the top

executives at a banana company disputes this government information. In July 2001, he

confirmed consolidation that is going on in the banana sector. "There are many

producers that lately have invested in land. I would say that 20% have less than 50 ha;

60% are between 50 and 100 ha and 20% are larger than 100 ha, so, that sector is

growing" (a banana company executive pers. comm. 2002). The 2000 agrarian census

does nothing to clear up the disparity of data. The author however was able to gather

enough information through personal interviews to substantiate the interviewed

executive's consolidation theory, at least in the study.area.





I
82

Export banana marketing has strongly contributed to the country's economy in

1997, accounting for 35% of total exports. Contribution to total GDP was 3%, and 16% 1

to the agrarian GDP. Baana output in 1992 was 26 MT/ha on 135,000 ha, and 37

MT/ha from 127,000 ha in 1997. Ecuador has developed an integral banana industry,

including production, processing, shipping, and marketing. I


Table 3-1. Banana area per province I

Province Area (ha) No. Of Producers Average area/producer
EL ORO 44,101 2,656 16.6
LOS RIOS 44,994 841 53.5
GUAYAS 42,743 1,810 23.7
Source: Banana Unit, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Quito
Prepared by the Servicio de Informaci6n y Censo Agropecuario (SICA) SICA-
IBRD/MAG Project Ecuador (www.sica.gov.ec) I


Los Rios Province is now the largest banana producer in Ecuador closely followed I

by El Oro, and Guayas (SICA 2001). A conversation with some men who considered I

themselves "old timers" in the town of Buena F6 shed further light on the changes that

had taken place in the Province during their lifetimes, including the switch from the Gros

Michel style of production to the more intensive Cavendish type: I

In the 1940s there was a lot of banana, but Panama disease killed the
incipient plantations in a very brief lapse of time. The first big company
was German, then Standard (Dole) came along. They used to buy bananas
in bunches. "This area was all palm, and is now banana (also passion fruit,
cacao, palm, which is processed here). The road was finished in 1958. I
remember well because big steamships used to come up to Quevedo from
Guayaquil. The last ones came in 1958. This is the story: first there was
cacao here (1880s-1920s). In the 30s and 40s this was all jungle (where
there had been large cacao plantations), but it was not all cacao. One 300
ha hacienda had perhaps 100 ha of cacao. The rest was forest. Cacao
plantations were not destroyed when bananas first moved in. Later palm 3
replaced much cacao. Bananas were planted on virgin forestland (starting
big in 1958 with the road). Then the disease came in the 1960s and it was
back to palm again, all this until 25 years ago when short cycle grains


I









became popular. Maize and soybeans had a good period from the mid
1980s to the mid 1990s. Now it is bananas again (a long-time Los Rios
resident and businessman 2002).

In order of importance, Noboa, Reybanpac/Favorita Fruit, and Pons all

have plantations over 100 ha (Espinel 2002). The agrosocioecosystem described

and analyzed in this dissertation is defined around an area where one of these

companies and its associated producers have a very strong presence.

According to Empresa de Manifiestos, total banana exports during 2001 were

3,990,427 MT, 5 percent lower than the year 2000 exports, which reached 4,221,599 MT.

Eighty four percent of banana exports are addressed to seven important markets, the most

important ones being the EU (34%), the U.S. (22%), and Russia (16%).

Markets

During the 1999-2001 period a change in market composition occurred. Thus, the

U.S. decreased from 31 percent to 22 percent, Russia increased from 6 percent to 16

percent, China fell from 4 percent to 3 percent, the Southern area of the South America

region remained in at 10 percent, and the EU rose from 16 percent to 20 percent.

Important market sales grew during the 2000-2001 period, the U.S. increased its

purchases by 14%. Other markets decreased; China 47%, Argentina 8%, and Chile 4%.

Comparing the years 2001 and 1999 data, some markets decreased-U.S. (-43%), the EU

(-6%), China (-34%), and Chile (-17%)-while other markets increased their

percentages, Russia (154%), Poland (6%), and Argentina (8%).

It is important to highlight that the sector's evolution was adversely affected by

climatic problems that reduced internal supply. The annual average price of a banana

box in the U.S. market improved during the year 2001, quoting an average price of USD









9.44 among all trade marks; i.e., 42% up from the year 2000 records; USD 6.65, and 53%

up from 1999.

The annual average prices of a banana box in the EU market also recovered,

registering an average quote of USD 14.81 for main trademarks, 9% up from the year

2000 that had registered USD 13.55. However, this quote did not surpass 1999 records.

Certain conditions were established for qualifying nontraditional operators, which

favors the participation of the Ecuadorian exporting companies. During 2000, the

Eastern Europe Market also recovered, quoting an annual average of USD 8.24/box, up

17% from the year 2000, USD 7.05; and 1% up from 1999.

Table 3-2. Banana exports from Ecuador

Year Area (ha) Exporting (MT) Exportable Yield
(MT/ha)
1994 124,417 3,307,624 26.58
1995 125,603 3,736,533 29.75
1996 127,140 3,842,442 30.22
1997 127,126 4,456,275 35.05
1998 138,230 3,848,059 27.83
1999 138,230 3,865,042 27.96
2000 143,961 3,947,002* 27.42
Source: Servicio de Informaci6n y Censo Agropecuario (SICA) SICA-IBRD/ MAG
Project Ecuador. through November

Company Banana Haciendas

The banana explosion in Los Rios has only been within the last 4-5 years. The

largest Ecuadorian company increased by 3,000 ha in four years. For the entire northern

district, the grand total for the same company is 5,485 ha and 4,070 workers. The south

(El Oro Province) comes in with just over 450 ha and some 400 workers, bringing the

grand total for the enterprise to nearly 6,862 ha and 5,800 personnel. The north is the

strongest production zone. Table 3-3 shows the numbers for the Agrosocioecosystem.




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