ABSTRACT

During the 1990s, Peru was among the Latin American countries that underwent the most rapid and radical transformation towards a liberal economy. This had the effect of changing the rules affecting economic agents of all sorts, including peasant producers. Although the collectivist aims of the 1969 agrarian reform legislation had long since been abandoned in favour of policies that sought to privilege market relations in the rural sphere, the liberalization of the agricultural economy became much more explicit in the 1990s. The virtues of free market economics were extolled as a panacea-even for sectors like peasants at the very margins of the economic system. State intervention for agriculture of all sorts was reduced, while producers were forced to compete on more open terms with imports. Such a major transformation naturally brought with it winners and losers in agriculture, just as it did in other sectors of economic life.