The Labor of Agrodiversity in a Moroccan Oasis

  • Citation: Rignall, Karen. “The Labor of Agrodiversity in a Moroccan Oasis.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 43, no. 3 (2015): 711–30.
    • Topics:
    • Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • agricultural biodiversity
    • agrarian question
    • food sovereignty
    • labor
    • Morocco
    • peasant farming

This paper examines the recent history of peasant farming in a Moroccan oasis to reflect on the relationship between agrodiversity, labor and tradition in contemporary smallholder systems. Many agrarian scholars and food sovereignty activists emphasize the role of peasant farmers in protecting agricultural biodiversity. This paper argues that certain kinds of agrodiversity may in fact be ‘new’, a product of recent agrarian transformations that adapt and in some cases reject agricultural traditions. Ethnographic research in pre-Saharan Morocco found that some households used migration remittances to experiment with new crops and produce for the market for the first time. In recognizing the ambivalent relationship peasant farmers may have towards tradition, this paper contends that it is important to locate a political economy of agrodiversity in the larger context of the contemporary agrarian question and to relate agrodiversity to the changing labor regimes that enable peasant farming systems

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