Accepted paper:

Brazil's agroecology movements expanding the Economia Social e Solidaria (SSE)


Les Levidow (The Open University)

Paper short abstract:

Informed by the concept of Economia Social e Solidaria (SSE), Brazil's agroecology movements link farmers' knowledge-exchange, socio-environmental technologies and short food-supply chains. Together these elements build a basis for solidarity markets, while also fulfilling several of the SDGs.

Paper long abstract:

SSE (Economia Social e Solidaria) expresses solidaristic interdependencies within and across economic activities. This model promotes cooperative relationships which enhance capacities and livelihoods, especially through shorter supply chains bringing producers closer to consumers. SSE has been taken up for Brazil's Agrarian Reform - the focus of this paper. Many initiatives have adopted these six common principles: solidarity economy, agroecology, fair trade, solidarity consumption, networks and self-management. Around the turn of the century, Brazil's MST (landless movement) began to experiment with agroecological practices in their occupied settlements; they soon linked agroecology with food sovereignty as a counter-strategy against agribusiness. With support from agricultural extension services, peasant-to-peasant encounters have exchanged seeds and knowledge of agroecological methods. Their internal training programmes have built expertise to develop 'socio-environmental technologies', i.e. those which can be collectively managed and disseminated to other farms. By contrast with the expensive third-party (auditorio) certification of organic products, an alternative option (OCS-SGP) allows collective self-certification through a Participatory Guarantee Systems facilitating an improvement process. This is more suitable for small-scale producers, whose 'organic' label thereby has gained better remuneration through box schemes and special retail outlets, attracting consumers who support the production methods. With support from civil society groups, agroecology movements have built short food-supply chains which gain consumer support, and well as institutional food procurement. Together these elements build a solidarity economy, helping peasants to resist a self-destructive inclusion into the Green Revolution model. In this way, agroecology movements strengthen farmers' capacity to fulfill several SDGs.

panel B3
Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE): a path towards achieving SDGs? [paper]