Domestic Crop Booms, Livelihood Pathways and Nested Transitions: Charting the Implications of Bangladesh’s Pangasius Boom

Belton, B.; Asseldonk, I.J.M. van; Bush, S.R.


Rapidly transforming Asian food systems are oriented largely towards domestic markets, yet literature on Asian crop booms deals almost exclusively with commodities produced for export. With reference to pangasius aquaculture in Bangladesh, we argue that ‘domestic crop booms’ - agricultural booms driven by domestic demand – are contributing to rapid social and ecological transformations in Asia and across the globe. We adopt a comparative multi-scalar approach, and develop the concept of ‘livelihood pathways’ as a means of understanding agrarian change associated with crop booms. The study reveals sharply divergent patterns of social change resulting from the pangasius boom, as experienced in two different village settings, despite underlying
similarities in the processes of commodification evident in both. In addition to drawing attention to domestic crop booms and the diversity of transitions in which they result, the paper demonstrates the value of comparative multi-scalar analytical approaches and the importance of livelihood pathways in processes of agrarian change.