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What is agribusiness? When did it emerge? In answering these questions, Mendonça traces the global contours of contemporary agriculture, bringing a critical analysis of the origins of agribusiness in the United States and its subsequent international signature. The investigation of historical dynamics reveals that the industrialization of agriculture was a result of a dialectical movement of economic crisis and expansion. This analysis sheds new light on current debates about food sovereignty, agriculture technologies, international financial markets and farmland speculation.
Mendonça challenges the established contemporary discourse regarding the contribution that agribusiness makes to economic development. Industrialization of agriculture demands increasing amounts of credit for capital inputs, which are captured by agribusiness corporations, leading to market concentration. This explains how global economic policies directly impact land and food systems, as across the production “chain” multinational corporations control production and trading mechanisms.
For those who are new to the study of agribusiness, this book provides a clear introduction to global trends. For those more engaged it serves as a valuable overview, an excellent text for students involved in studies of agriculture and food sovereignty.
The Political Economy of Agribusiness by Maria Luisa Mendonça is a brilliantly written small book about a huge issue confronting humanity: agribusiness – and how it causes social problems such as land grabbing, inequality and exploitation, and provokes resistance. It is a must-read for academics and activists alike.
— Saturnino M. Borras Jr., International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Netherlands