Geography & Environment Publications

The Role and Limitations of Peasant Co-operatives in Rural Jamaica: The Cask of the St. Mary Rural Development Project

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Canadian Journal of Development Studies

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Rural Jamaica possesses persistently high levels of poverty as numerous barriers frustrate the viability of peasant agriculture. This paper examines the acute vulnerability of the peasantry according to three types of constraints—production limitations, marketing linkages and the nature of market demand—and presents a hopeful case of a peasant cooperative struggling to overcome these obstacles. This co-operative provides both an instructive example of how peasants can begin to empower themselves and overcome some of the traditional obstacles facing their sector, and a foreboding example of how international food networks ultimately constrain such progress.

La Jamaïque rurale affiche un taux de pauvreté élevé et persistant, de nombreux obstacles venant freiner la viabilityé de l'agriculture paysanne. Cet article examine d'abord la très grande vulnéabilityé de ses paysans face à trois types d'obstacles, à savoir les limites de h production, la commercialisation, et la nature de la demande du marché. Ensuite il présente le cas prometteur d'une coopéative paysanne luttant pour surmonter ces diffcultés. Cette coopérative illustre la façon dont les paysans se prennent en charge pour surmonter certains obstacles traditionnels auxquels ils font face, un exernple fort rétélateur de la façon dont les réseaux internationaux du marché de l'alimentation viennent enfin ralentir les progrès accomplis.


Dr. Tony Weis was not yet affiliated with The University of Western Ontario at the time of publication.

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