Meghna Goyal


Research Cluster


Prof. Dr. Praveen Jha, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Prof. Dr. Christoph Scherrer, Kassel University

PhD Project Title

Trade and Production in Global Agricultural Value Chains


With my PhD project, I aim to examine the implications of the expansion of trade through global food and agricultural value systems for the global South. The export of agricultural commodities from the South to Northern countries has been a central feature of colonial history. This export has come at a great cost to the peasantry and food security in these countries. Colonial taxation and de-industrialization were essential means by which colonial powers maintained this exploitative arrangement (Patnaik, 2015).

In the post-independence and neoliberal era, the debate on the impact of global agricultural value chains (GAVCs) for the South has brought up competent views. On the one hand, they have been argued to create opportunities for the peasantry and agrarian systems in the South through improved incomes, wider markets and the cultivation of higher-value crops in contract farming or other modes of production. Some have, however, argued that the coordination of GAVCs maintain the exploitative relationship of its colonial past, over Southern agriculture (Jha & Yeros, 2019; Patnaik, 2015).

GAVCs, old and new, have undeniably reshaped trade and cropping patterns globally. This has consequences for the material conditions of the peasantry, but also for the sustainability of agricultural production (given the acute climate and environmental crisis), regional differentiations and food security among a host of other concerns. The dynamic processes which determine trade and cropping patterns in flux, must therefore be closely examined.

Using global databases such as the TiVA, along with other historical data, my PhD project will trace changes in trade patterns of agri-food commodities, and regional or national cropping patterns over time. This will contribute to the debate on GAVCs by lending to it an empirical basis of analysis. These trade patterns and the dynamic processes behind their determination are the subject of my project.

Educational Background

Professional Experience

  • October 2020 – February 2021: Research Associate at the Centre for Agrarian Research and Education for South (CARES), Delhi