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Title:Environment, Economics, and Family Farm Systems: Farm Expansion and Adaptation on the Western Slopes of Andean Ecuador (Cultural Ecology)
Author(s):Pomeroy, Cheryl Susan
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This study assesses the popularity of multizonal farming on the western slopes of Andean Ecuador. It is based on 18 months of fieldwork in a multiethnic area of Bolivar Province known as Llullundongo, where the sale and expropriation of estates in the first part of this century allowed for farm expansion among small farmers in the highlands and on the adjacent outer slopes. As of 1982, most local families had established farms with at least one highland and one outer slope homestead, each with a house and fields. This multizonal pattern was typically found among indigenous peoples but also common among whites. Its popularity may be attributed to its economic versatility, as it usually includes both highland subsistence agriculture and outer slope cash farming.
The Llullundongo pattern contrasts with that in much of the Central Andes where multizonal production systems and communal management were historically rooted and considered the ideal. In Llullundongo, the traditional, ideal farming arrangement had been family-managed grain and tuber agriculture in the highlands--a bizonal pattern.
Unlike many areas in Latin America, subsistence agriculture is still very important in this highland setting. Its continuing strength may be attributed to a constellation of agroenvironmental and economic features which favor small-scale family operations over large-scale, capital-oriented farms or agribusinesses. These features include the steep, wet, ecologically-diverse landscape and an agricultural policy which favors urban consumers with low staple food prices. In addition, maintenance of cash-oriented homesteads by multizonal farmers appears to have boosted investments in staple crop agriculture in the highlands.
However, as farm expansion comes to a halt and economic differentiation increases, the strength of multizonal farms may be sapped. More extensive land redistribution, appropriate agricultural infrastructure, and greater community input into the choice and design of all infrastructure programs will be needed if the relative prosperity of the recent past is to continue for the small- and medium-sized farm families of this area.
Issue Date:1986
Description:372 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8701593
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1986

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