Development, suitability, debt: Living through the violence of agricultural land-use zoning in Colombia
Angela María Sánchez Alfonso – 2023
In 2018, peasant farmers of the Ariari region of Colombia protested against “Colombia Siembra,” an agricultural development policy implemented by the Colombian government between 2015 and 2018 to increase the country’s agricultural productivity. Within the framework of this policy, bureaucratic zonings based on the land’s productive suitability were used as conditions for farmers to access publicly funded support for loans. This process had adverse repercussions on the living spaces of agricultural producers, as it perpetuated and sophisticated state policies that have resulted in their eternal indebtedness. This paper examines land-use planning, indebtedness, and agricultural development from a critical perspective of policy interventions affecting landscapes. Based on a situated analysis of the Ariari region in Colombia and the experience of the small- and medium-scale farmers who live there, this paper highlights the construction of land use as a violent process with major consequences on life, land, and socioecological relationalities.