Neuerscheinung: „The changing drivers of oil palm cultivation and the persistent narrative of 'already degraded land'. Insights from Nicaragua“ von Anne Tittor

Neuerscheinung Januar 2020: The changing drivers of oil palm cultivation and the persistent narrative of 'already degraded land'. Insights from Nicaragua.

von Anne Tittor

 

The article explores the histories of oil palm in Nicaragua during the 20th century within a drastically changing Political Economy. In Nicaragua, palm oil cultivation dates back to the 1950s, when the United Fruit Company started to plant oil palm on the Atlantic Coast. In the 1980s, due to the agrarian reform of the Sandinista revolution, political conditions and economic strategies changed completely. In this era, a socialist government started to create agricultural cooperatives for oil palm. After the defeat of the revolution, during the neoliberal era of the 1990s, palm oil cultivation expanded in different surges. This expansion was tied to funding from international organizations, especially during the conjuncture of the bioenergy framework, which implied a new narrative of sustainability from the global level. The extent of the territory on which oil palm is cultivated more than quadrupled between 2005 and 2010, and again more than doubled between 2010 and 2016, although the Sandinista government was back in power and not particularly supportive of oil palm. The article argues that although the drivers, the main actors, their specific arguments, funding sources, and policies promoting oil palm have varied over time, the narrative of 'already degraded land' has consistently been used. Social contestations from below point not only to environmental and social consequences, but to the funding schemes and narratives of international institutions sponsoring and promoting oil palm.