chapter  9
Popular Participation and Access to Food: Mexico's Community Food Councils 1
WithJonathan Fox
Pages 33

Huge traditional consumer food programs had exclusively benefited city-dwellers, but the Community Food Council program was targeted specifically at the rural poor. This case of community participation in policy implementation shows how the internalization of social conflict within government agencies can directly shape access to food. In Mexico, approximately two-thirds of the malnourished population lives in the countryside. The reformist Cardenas administration emphasized broadening the internal market, but since then the Mexican government's capital-intensive, urban-biased approach to industrialization has created its own set of interests, blocking policy shifts toward significantly increased rural employment. The nature of the councils and the scope of their power were the focal points of the political conflict over the program. CONASUPO-COPLAMAR's integration of community and regional levels of participation turned simple warehouses into focal points for conflict over the allocation of key resources. The CONASUPO-COPLAMAR program was particularly well received by the indigenous communities of the impoverished southern state of Oaxaca.