Breaking Ground: Multi-Family Farm Entrepreneurs in Moroccan Export Agriculture

Sarah Ruth Sippel (SFB 1199)

Publication Date

June 2016


Amsterdam: Elsevier






Journal of Rural Studies






While on a global scale the majority of farming is still organized around families, a sweeping observation is that regardless of regional differences family farming takes on increasingly diversified forms. Within this context, hybrid concepts that bridge traditional notions have been suggested while research has 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”, investigating 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 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.

Keywords: Morocco, Intensive horticulture, Export production, Multi-family farm entrepreneurs, Family farm differentiation

Source: Science Direct, Link (18 July 2017)


Biographical Note

Dr. Sarah Ruth Sippel (SFB 1199 & Institute of Anthropology, Leipzig University, Germany)
Sarah Ruth Sippel studied Middle Eastern studies and philosophy (Leipzig, Germany and Aix-en-Provence, France) and received her PhD in geography (Leipzig). In her PhD dissertation she combined a global agri-food systems perspective with various approaches to human and livelihood security in order to investigate processes of social differentiation in Moroccan export agriculture. Her current research project addresses the diverse imaginations of land through the lens of Australia’s increasing agricultural ties to the Gulf States and China.