Centre for Rural Economy

Carlos Cordova

Carlos Felipe Bolomey Cordova

The social life of fruit: public policies, labour and mobility in modern fruit farming, South Central Chile.

Email of student: C.F.Bolomey-Cordova2@newcastle.ac.uk

Supervisors: Prof Sally Shortall and Dr Menelaos Gkartzios

Chile is considered a fruit producer country by the global economy because of its Mediterranean weather. Moreover, due to climate change, the Mediterranean weather has been moving into south-central Chile.

Therefore the state of Chile is attempting through public policies to shift the agricultural production in this geographic area, from cattle breeding and cereal production toward fruit production since are observed as better commodities for exportation.

This research proposal assumes as a starting point that seasonal farm workers are the predominating form of wage labour in modern fruit farming Chile. Nonetheless, the literature has focused on women or migrants when it comes to seasonal farm workers. Therefore I will attempt to focus on young workers in order to fill a gap in the literature.

The general aim of this research is: to analyse, from an ethnographic perspective, those state initiatives that seek to redirect the agricultural production in “La Araucania” (Southern Central Chile) into fruit production.

The specifics aims are:

  • identify the perceptions among the landholders (elite) about the challenge of implementing the fruit production in the Araucania Region
  • identify the impact of implementing the fruit production within one Mapuche indigenous community
  • explore how young indigenous farmers engage in fruit production as seasonal farm workers 

Regarding “La Araucania”, it can be stated that is the most impoverished Region in Chile and is also characterised by a high rate of rurality, corresponding to 32 % (INE, 2017).

In addition, its social composition can be depicted as a mix between European settlers (Italian, German and Swiss descendants), Chileans and Indigenous (Mapuche people).

These identities play a crucial role in how social relations are shaped within the region since there is an inner conflict that every democratic government have unsuccessfully tried to address it.