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The sustainability of quinoa production in southern Bolivia: from misrepresentations to questionable solutions. Comments on Jacobsen (2011, J. Agron. Crop Sci. 197: 390-399)

Winkel T., Bertero H.D., Bommel P., Bourliaud J., Chevarria-Lazo M., Cortes G., Gasselin P., Geerts S., Joffre R., Léger F., Martinez Avisa B., Rambal S., Rivière G., Tichit M., Tourrand J.F., Vassas Toral A., Vacher J.J., Vieira Pak M.. 2012. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 198 (4) : p. 314-319.

Reviewing the situation of quinoa production in southern Bolivia, Jacobsen (2011, J. Agron. Crop Sci. 197: 390) argues that the booming export market has a negative effect on the environment and on the home consumption of quinoa, thereby leading to an environmental disaster in the region. In view of the scarcity of scientific knowledge on the rapid social and environmental dynamics in the region, we consider that Jacobsen's review misrepresents the situation of quinoa production in southern Bolivia. Specifically, we argue that (i) the data presented by Jacobsen (2011, J. Agron. Crop Sci. 197: 390) do not support any drop in quinoa crop yield supposed to reflect soil degradation and (ii) his demonstration regarding home consumption of quinoa is ill-founded from both a nutritional and a cultural point of view. We suggest that the diffusion of the arguments exposed by Jacobsen (2011, J. Agron. Crop Sci. 197: 390), because of their flaws, might have strong negative impacts on those concerned with sustainable food production and fair-trade with developing countries. We conclude that, rather than reinforced agro-technical controls on local farmers, the rising competition in the international quinoa market requires a shift towards an ethical economy and ethical research cooperation with quinoa producers. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : développement durable; politique de développement; dégradation du sol; Éthique; donnée de production; consommation alimentaire; chenopodium quinoa; région andine; bolivie (État plurinational de)

Thématique : Economie et politique du développement; Economie de la consommation

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