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Land Tenure, Access to Resources, and Food Security in the Amazon Estuary

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Siqueira, Andréa D.; Murrieta, Rui S. S.; Brondizio, Eduardo
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2003
Sector: Agriculture
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
indigenous institutions
food supply
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Competing paradigms of rural development and food security often focus on collective versus private resource management while overlooking the combination of both strategies as part of contemporary adaptation to socioeconomic and land tenure changes taking place in many parts of the world. Drawing from examples of the Brazilian Amazon, this paper looks at how different strategies of food production (swidden and mechanized agriculture, fishing, hunting, agroforestry) are constrained by different land tenure systems, and in turn, how these arrangements affect food security of Caboclo populations in the Amazonian estuary. Caboclosnon-Indian population of the Brazilian Amazon have developed a diversified economy based on fishing, hunting, slash-and- burn, agroforestry, and the extraction and commercialization of forest products as well as trade and off-farm jobs. This paper focuses on three Caboclo populations differentiated by land tenure and land use systems (small owners, sharecroppers and cooperativists, respectively). The population of small owners presents a characteristic pattern of Caboclo economy marked by a diversified land use. The population of sharecroppers has specialized on a palm fruit (açai) agroforestry management, while the population of cooperative members has based their economy on mechanized agriculture and pasture. Food intake surveys were collected at the level of household in 1991 and 1994, rainy and dry seasons, using the 24-hour recall method during seven days each. Quantities of food consumed were converted into energy and protein values and compared to FAO/WHO guidelines for calculating the recommended allowance for energy intake and safe level of protein consumption. Food surveys included information on the types of food and quantities consumed within the household, its preparation, as well as their origins (household production, exchange, market acquisition). Consumed food items were also divided according to their sources: family plots (manioc, palm fruit, and vegetables), collective fields (rice and beans), forest (fruits, game, oils), and rivers (fish and shrimp). Our data shows that among the study populations like many other Amazonian populations, urban and rural alikesources of protein (often from open access areas) are more abundant than sources of energy (often from private holdings and/or market). Fish and shrimp are the main source of daily protein intake, while manioc flour and palm fruit are the main source of energy. Game plays a lesser importance on the total protein intake. This paper discusses that no single land use and acquisition strategy provide sufficient grounds for food security. A combination of acquisition strategies (from open access areas and private holdings) seem to dominate in this area independently of tenure system."

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