Jaime Hoogesteger of the Water Resources Management Group has been awarded a VENI grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for his proposal ‘Re-patterning water control: vegetable agro-export chains, water rights and rural livelihoods in the Bajío, Mexico’. The department of Environmental Sciences of ESG is rewarded with 2 VENI grants in the 2014 call.
Jaime’s research will contribute to a better understanding of how vegetable agro-export chains (that supply the demands of Europe and North America) change local water distribution and related rural livelihoods in the ‘South’. He will ground his research in Mexico’s leading area of vegetable production and export; namely the Bajío of the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. “I will study how the vegetable production and export chains change by whom, how and for what water is used,” Jaime says. “I am also interested in how smallholder families and collectives that depend on irrigation cope with and resist these changes by adapting their livelihoods and production strategies, and I will explore the scope and limitations of initiatives that try to link consumers with producers aiming to promote more socially and environmentally friendly production.”
The research results will provide new insights to the literatures on water governance and will link these to the related literatures on the agro-export sector, livelihoods and development. Jaime will do so by using an innovative interdisciplinary socio-technical approach that is based on a broad conceptualization of water rights which will be informed by notions of ‘polycentricity’, ‘governmentality’ and ‘scalar politics’ as they relate to processes of resource control and the distribution of its benefits. “I will use a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods including a local ethnography of transforming rural communities; a water access and household survey; and a global ethnography along the vegetable agro-export chain and the initiatives that link consumers with producers.”
The research will be done in close collaboration with local, national and international organizations, research institutes and research networks. Jaime Hoogesteger: “By using participative research methods, popular and scientific peer-reviewed publications, and visits to leading research institutes and researchers, I intend to inform consumers, businesses, practitioners, policy makers and scientists concerned with water governance, development and environmental justice.”