Environmental Impacts Of Unsustainable Agriculture In Brazil And Costa Rica

2050 words - 8 pages

Since the sixteenth century, foreign dominance over Central and South America has been attributed to farming and plantations. Spaniards introduced the concept of plantation systems to the new world in the island of “La Española” or Hispaniola. From there, it spread through the Caribbean, eventually finding its way into Central and South American countries. Plantation systems were founded on slave labor and brutal methods of exploitation imposed by European colonists on indigenous peoples, and eventually to African slaves, in order to perform labor-intensive farming practices. Since the introduction of the use of slaves, these countries became known as having a plantation economy. Plantation economies are based on agricultural large-scale production of traditional and nontraditional staple crops grown on large farms or plantations and rely on the export of their crops as a source of income. These plantation systems were prevalent all through Latin America up until the late nineteenth century where they became considered a monopoly capital asset. The combination of cheap labor and pre-capitalist methods of exploitation assured European monopolies high profits from their plantation’s produce vended in the world market. By this time, large merging of land, known as “latifundios”, increased the capacity of export agriculture, yet decreased the availability of food production for local consumption. This, in conjunction with governments’ fixation on the production of one type of exporting commodity, resulted in the impoverishment of Latin American masses. Major staple crops throughout Latin America like coffee, bananas, and later on soybean grew popular demand in the world market. Thus, overall modernization of agricultural practices as well as improved infrastructure and transportation facilities was required in order to fulfill such demand. This paper will analyze the production of three staple crops grown throughout three countries in Latin America along with their economic, environmental and social implications. Lastly, culminating in present efforts to transition into organic production, small-scale farming, and achieving a more sound food system.
As years passed, colonists as well as foreign monopolies slowly declined in Central and South America. Nevertheless, these countries were founded and maintained by overseas entities whose departure left Latin America in the hands of all, yet under the governance of few. Latin America was then faced with a long saga of authoritarian governments insensitive to the need for social change; economic policy decisions based on the need for constant growth; the transfer of capital, human and natural resources from South to North; the exploitation of South America by the rich economies and a growing foreign debt imposed by the super-developed countries and their multilateral financial institutions in the 1970s. Additionally, neoliberalism was being introduced through Augusto Pinochet in Chile...

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