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Thesis: ¨The impact of soy expansion: migration and resistance¨

This thesis is the result of two researches, with their own characteristics, that were conducted during 2006 and 2007 in Paraguayan communities. First, of an interdisciplinary research in which fieldwork was conducted in eight campesino-communities and several urban slums in different parts of the country. Second, of an additional, individual study in the community of Parirí, in Paraguay’s central province of Caaguazú. Both studies aim to define the factors that give rise to migration caused by soy expansion. We looked at aspects such as access to land, loss of crucial income sources of the campesino economy, deteriorating health of both people and livestock, environmental factors, violence and repression by authorities and private militias, and the lack of public amenities and infrastructure. Subsequently, it becomes evident that particularly young campesinos without land, or with very limited access to land, suffer the most from the soy expansion.

Apart from migration, we also encountered forms of resistance from campesinos. In Parirí this resistance consisted of occupying soy fields in order to create access to land. The support of campesino-organizations is essential to make this kind of resistance effective.

Concerning the Round Table on Responsible Soy – an assembly of companies and organizations – this thesis aims to contribute to answering the question: whether it is possible to make export-oriented, large-scale, soy monocultures sustainable, guaranteeing the social-economic rights of the most vulnerable groups among campesinos. The conclusion here is that large-scale soy cultivation is part of an agricultural economic development model which excludes weaker actors. All the factors we have mentioned that degrade the environment of campesinos are related and inherent to this model and violate their rights and interests.

Download en lees de scriptie ‘Paraguayaanse boerengemeenschappen in de greep van de sojamonocultuur. De invloed van soja-expansie: migratie en verzet’.