A substantial literature on desakota in Asia has emerged over the last two decades. To what extent are these processes occurring in the Andes (and Amazon) of Latin America? Does the growth of transportation infrastructure lead to development adjacent to and between urban cores of the region? Are developments in transportation and communication leading to a time-space collapse across the region? Are non-agricultural and non-traditional employment and income sources growing? What effect is globalization having on rural areas? To the extent that the desakota phenomenon is occurring in the Andes and Amazon, what are the impacts on the environment and livelihoods? Does such development assist in poverty alleviation?
This paper addresses these questions. The Andean focus of the study includes the countries of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. Some literature from the Andean areas of Chile and Argentina was included, but given less emphasis because these countries have less development challenges than the others. The Amazon focus includes the same countries just mentioned, plus Brazil.
The paper starts with a general discussion of globalization and demographic change in Latin America. A review of literature on non-farm and off-farm rural employment and income – two important indicators of desakota – follows. Migration and remittances are discussed in the context of their effects on socioeconomic conditions in rural areas. The paper then focuses on the growth of agro-industrial pockets in the Andes (e.g., the cut flower industry). Another key trend in these regions is growth of supermarkets and their impacts on farmers and consumers. Transportation development is an important feature of desakota given its potential to reduce travel time and thus increase interaction between rural and urban areas. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are reviewed in the context of their impacts on interactions across the urban-rural continuum.
The review then turns to the impacts of desakota development on natural resources and environmental services, particularly water. The recognition of the importance of externalities related to natural resources use is discussed in the context of opportunities for desakota areas to take advantage of payment for environmental service schemes. The paper concludes with a discussion of poverty and livelihood implications of desakota development.