Impacts of Land Use Change on Guatemalan Food Sovereignty
Abstract: In 2014 the World Food Programme estimated that 130,000 smallholder farmers in Guatemala lost crops due to a drought . That same year Guatemala also enjoyed 5-year highs in the production of water-intensive large-scale export crops: banana and sugar cane . This is one example of a series of food price and climate shocks that have caused many to question the impact of the global food system ... read moreon the world's poor. Guatemala is a particularly pointed example of the issues many countries face. Its fertile soil and varied climatic regions make it a productive place to grow food. This has led to it becoming an important producer of specific agricultural goods such as coffee, sugar, bananas, and oilseed palm, yet it struggles with one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere as well as pervasive food insecurity. Some have argued that this trend is due to the allocation of prime agricultural resources to export agriculture and the forcing of non-export agriculture onto marginal lands with high climate vulnerability. This research quantifies the geographic changes in Guatemalan export and non-export agriculture over the period of 2003-2010 and relates those changes to the vulnerability of the domestic food supply to climate change and international food price spikes. I find that non-export agriculture is moving onto more marginal land at higher elevations which both reduces expected yields and increases the likelihood of crop failure.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Sumeeta Srinivasan.
Committee: Timothy Griffin.
Keywords: Agriculture, and Nutrition.read less