Food or flowers? Contested transformations of community food security and water use priorities under new legal and market regimes in Ecuador's highlands | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2016
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

During the past three decades, the Pisque watershed in Ecuador's Northern Andes has become the country's principal export-roses producing area. Recently, a new boom of local smallholders have established small rose greenhouses and joined the flower-export business. This has intensified water scarcity and material/discursive conflicts over water use priorities: water to defend local-national food sovereignty or production for export. This paper examines how including peasant flower farms in the capitalist dream – driven by a ‘mimetic desire’ and copying large-scale capitalist flower-farm practices and technologies – generates new intra-community conflicts over collective water rights, extending traditional class-based water conflicts. New allocation principles in Ecuador's progressive 2008 Constitution and 2014 Water Law prioritising food production over flowers' industrial water use are unlikely to benefit smallholder communities. Instead, decision-making power for peasant communities and their water users' associations on water use priority would enable water user prioritization according to smallholders' own preferences.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Mena-Vásconez, Patricio
Rutgerd Boelens
Jeroen Vos


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