Breaking ground: Multi-family farm entrepreneurs in Moroccan export agriculture

Sarah Ruth Sippel (SFB 1199, Leipzig U)

Publication Date

June 2016








Journal of Rural Studies





Additional Information


While on a global scale the majority of farming is still organized around families, a sweeping observation across regional differences is that family farming takes on increasingly diversified forms. Within this context, hybrid concepts that bridge traditional notions have been suggested while research has also indicated an important interface between family farm businesses and multi-family farm structures. Drawing on this emerging body of literature, this paper develops the notion of ‘multi-family farm entrepreneurs’ to investigate the origin, background, and current organization of the families involved in agricultural export in Morocco. Based on extensive qualitative research, it is argued that the establishment of stable multi-family structures, which rely on active ‘cohesive work’, is key to understanding their success in the highly competitive and internationalized fruit and vegetable export sector. The paper demonstrates how family farm differentiation in the global South also takes place within the ‘upper’ level, with some family farmers developing entrepreneurial skills and becoming globally interconnected while contributing to a better understanding of the internal dynamics of this kind of farming.

Biographical Note

Sarah Ruth Sippel (SFB 1199 & Leipzig University, Germany)

Sarah Ruth Sippel is a lecturer at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and a Principal Investigator at the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1199. Her research interests concern the complex nature of the global agri-food system, particularly questions in relation to food security, the financialization of agriculture and food, and the alternatives that are being developed to the current agri-food system. All these issues raise important questions in relation to politics, ethics, and social justice, which motivate her research. As a human geographer with a background in Middle Eastern Studies and Philosophy, Sarah investigates social phenomena from an interdisciplinary and transregional perspective. She intensively worked on the interlinkages between export agriculture, rural livelihood security, and labour migration in North Africa and the Western Mediterranean. Her current research addresses the diverse (re)imaginations of land in Australia.