Butzenlechner, L. (2015). Comparing the agricultural development of Mexico to selected Latin American countries between 1994 and 2015 by developing indicators of a Sustainable Agriculture Index [Master Thesis, Technische Universität Wien]. reposiTUm. https://doi.org/10.34726/hss.2015.30882
Sustainability Assessment; Agriculture; Free Trade Agreement; Latin America; Mexico; Indicators
The Mexican agriculture is often taken as an example for adverse consequences of a free trade agreement such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Nevertheless, for a holistic assessment of the consequences of such an agreement on the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, one hast to look at economic, social and ecological aspects. Hence, this thesis develops a framework to compare the agricultural development of five Latin American countries over a time period of the past 20 years. The countries were chosen based on similar economic parameters in 1994, i.e. Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Panama. National data for the quantitative empirical analysis have been taken from international organizations including the FAO and the World Bank Group. The quantitative method includes a scheme for normalization, aggregation and weighting for eight indicators in three sub-indices (economic, social and ecological) and one overall Sustainable Agriculture Index (SAI), which is developed based on literature on agricultural and non-agricultural Sustainability Assessments. With help of this framework, the development of the agricultural sector in the five LA countries is assessed and shows - in comparison to the other countries - a recent downward trend for Mexico. This is mainly due to low scores in the social dimension because of high rural poverty rates. For the ecological dimension, rather good scores are computed for Mexico, which were only better for Brazil. The economic scores showed a decline for most countries, except for Cuba and Brazil having a rather stable development. The values and scores observed are compared to literature and reports on the agricultural development in Latin American countries. Consequences of the liberalization process and structural change, which culminated in the adoption of NAFTA, are reflected in the results of the Sustainable Agriculture Index.