Benevolent Intent: The Development Encounter in Kenya’s Horticulture Industry

Dolan, Catherine (2005) Benevolent Intent: The Development Encounter in Kenya’s Horticulture Industry. In: Trading Morsels, Growing Hunger, Decimating Nature: Linking Food and Trade to Development and the Environment, 23 February 2005, Princeton University, New Jersey. (Unpublished)

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This article examines the trajectory of development policy and practice through the case of the Kenyan export trade of fresh produce. It traces how African labor, particularly women's labor, has been harnessed and restructured by three models of development: (1) the neoliberal prescriptions for agricultural diversification and contract farming; (2) the post-Washington consensus of pro-poor growth; and (3) the Corporate Social Responsibility movement of the late 20th century. While each model offers different approaches to improving Kenyan lives, they are united by a common intent to bring African labor into the fold of modernity, as both object and instrument of development. Drawing on fieldwork conducted among smallholders and waged employees, the article advances two arguments: (1) the construction and outcome of horticulture development is founded on, and contingent upon, gendered forms of labor; and (2) the exercise of trusteeship has been central to each model as international financial agencies and non-governmental organizations steward the ‘development’ of the African laborer. The article contends that all models cast the Kenyan worker as someone to be developed, be it through rural development, integration into a global workforce, or incorporation into a universal system of social justice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment; Development and Technology; Labor and Employment; Womens Issues; Agriculture; Development and Technology;
Subject(s): Retail
Centre: Oxford Institute of Retail Management
Faculty of Marketing
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 18:35
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:06

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