Agri-food landscape and transport interface development. The Guadeloupean food systems, between globalization and territory

Many research studies have focused on the links between biodiversity and transport infrastructure, questioning in what surroundings and how those these infrastructures operate. At the same time, local stakeholders underline the need to fight enclave in development projects. Thus, territorial managers call for the installation of transport interface (interchanges, ports, airports, and railway stations ...) in their territory. This situation occurs particularly in outermost regions.

At the crossroads of these two observations, the PADIT Project looks at the indirect effects of the development of a transport infrastructure on a territory and its biodiversity. It aims at examining the development of the containerization strategy of the Community of Port Stakeholders of Guadeloupe (CAPG) and its consequences on the food systems of this territory.

To understand the indirect effects of CAPG's strategy on Guadeloupean food systems, the PADIT project situates the research at the scale of food systems, examining their various components: production (including the functioning of agro-ecosystems), consumption, processing and marketing.

The CAPG's strategy, as a transport interface, drains the cash crops produced in the archipelago and allows their marketing toward the European and international markets. Conversely, it allows the importation of raw or processed food products that then irrigate the territory of Guadeloupe. Those dynamics influence food systems and agro-ecosystems in the archipelago, in particular the production of local staple food products. Thus, Guadeloupe and this port appear to be a real life-size laboratory to monitor the indirect effects of changes in a transport interface on a territory and to understand the role played by the stakeholders of these major infrastructures in the local ecological transition.

In line with literature, the PADIT Project considers that small family farming is a guarantee of the conservation of agrobiodiversity, and beyond, biodiversity (diverse habitats, species, breeds and original cultivated varieties, agro-ecological practices...). The main hypothesis of the Project is that port development contributes to restructure/destructure Guadeloupean food systems. Three secondary hypothesis structure the approach:
  • Port development promotes the standardization of the diet at the expense of so-called “traditional” cultures and culinary arts that value local agro-ecosystems.
  • However, a rebound effect occurs, and re-arms Guadeloupean local food systems. This rebound could limit the loss of agrobiodiversity and reactivate the attention paid on agricultural landscapes.
  • Those dynamics reveal the attachments and values related to food, to the ways of producing them and the associated landscapes. Consequently, one could integrate them into the consultations that accompany the definition and implementation of public actions.
To test those hypotheses, the Project proposes to divide into three related steps the research framework: (i) Specify the present and past Guadeloupean food demand, (ii) Describe and analyze Guadeloupean food systems and, finally, (iii) Grasp the values and imaginations at stake in the supply of food offered to consumers in Guadeloupe (local populations, tourists), and analyze the translation of socio-cultural dimensions (particularly in relation to the territory and its landscape representations).