Theory of “food regimes” as a model to explain the strategies of agrarian development (the ‘cases’ of Russia and Brazil)

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The ‘food regime’ approach was introduced as a historical method of “incorporated comparison” (P. McMichael). This comparison of the role of agriculture in the world-system made some scholars overemphasize an excessively unitary and coherent global food regime. The authors recognize this approach as a historical-comparative analytical tool to understand global trends, but argue that the Russian and Brazilian agrarian development question some ideas of the food regime approach. The contemporary positions of two countries in the global markets also prove the divergences in their positioning in the food regime genealogy. The paper focuses on the production and export of soy and wheat which do not represent the entire agrarian economy of Brazil and Russia but allow to compare two countries’ strategies of the international trade and in domestic markets. First, the authors briefly discuss the historical routes Russia and Brazil have taken in the agricultural development and global food markets; then they analyze the radical changes that followed the Russian perestroika and the Brazilian re-democratization in the late 1980s and led to the consolidation of neoliberal policies in the 1990s. After that the paper describes the turn of both countries to the ‘neo-developmental state’ that supported the export-oriented policies for the agribusiness but combined them with domestic food security and sovereignty policies. Finally, the authors conclude that despite differing trajectories both Russia and Brazil cannot be considered parts of the neoliberal food regime due to the fact that the contemporary period should be rather defined as a paradigmatic crisis and a co-existence of two or more food regimes.

About the authors

P Niederle

Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Author for correspondence.
Av. Paulo Gama, 110, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 90040-060


A A Kurakin

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, Russia, 119571


A M Nikulin

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, Russia, 119571; Myasnitskaya St., 9/11, Moscow, Russia, 101000


S Schneider

Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Av. Paulo Gama, 110, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 90040-060



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Copyright (c) 2019 Niederle P., Kurakin A.A., Nikulin A.M., Schneider S.

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