Sometime ago there was a huge debate in Colombia about the promise of avocado crops to foster economic development. The debate missed the point that it does not matter which crop becomes the next big monoculture. The consequences are deforestation, environmental destruction, and regional poverty.
Monocultures are based on a development model whose triumph is to export, making a few rich and leaving many others in misery. The odd thing is that while a lot of food is being produced, it creates problems of local food distribution and sovereignty. “Them belly full but we hungry”, says the Bob Marley song.
We need instead an economic framework focused on regional sustainability, where agricultural production is primarily intended to provide food to the inhabitants of an area. This model is not sexy because it doesn’t “boost the economy”, but it relies on ecological principles, and it is focused on increasing people’s quality of life, not exports.
So, I say no to sustainable development and a big yes to regional sustainability. And if you tie this economic viewpoint with stronger governance of the local people, then you start developing a bioregional model that is cyclical and grounded to the Earth, and not to ideas of unlimited growth and fictional borders.