Survival by Association

Survival by Association: Supply Management Landscapes of the Eastern Caribbean

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Survival by Association
    Book Description:

    Although the four islands have similar colonial backgrounds and more-or-less parallel development of the postwar banana industry, Welch finds dramatic variations in land use from island to island. She argues that the most critical factor in differences in land use is not politico-economic affiliation, agrarian structures, or the physical environment but the growers' associations that regulate the banana industries. She provides an account of the origin and development of banana growers' associations in the Eastern Caribbean, assesses the impact and influence of their policies and activities, and examines the way in which both associations and land-use patterns have evolved since the 1960s.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6577-7
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Acronyms
    (pp. xix-1)
  7. [Map]
    (pp. 2-2)
  8. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    In a utopian world, crops would presumably be arranged so that their distribution conformed as closely as possible with the physical conditions most favourable for their growth. In the real world, optimal physical conditions are seldom a prime consideration in agricultural land use decisions; history, politics, and economics conspire to confound the determinist prescriptions of soils, relief, and climate. Paradoxically, some farmers struggle to grow crops under conditions of gruelling adversity, while elsewhere other farmers, blessed with land of far superior physical endowments, are paid to refrain from growing the same crops. Neighbouring areas with strong physical similarities often show...

  9. 2 The Economic Context of Eastern Caribbean Banana Industries
    (pp. 21-41)

    Ever since bananas became an exportable commodity in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the location and relative importance of different zones of production and their relationship with actual and potential markets has been in constant flux. Economic environments have mutated, creating windows of opportunity for areas formerly at a disadvantage and insurmountable obstacles for once-flourishing producers. This study spans more than two decades, and many changes took place while it was under way. In this chapter, the focus is on the economic context of the mid-1960s, when the initial surveys were carried out. The subsequent evolution of that...

  10. 3 The Character of Land Occupancy
    (pp. 42-73)

    Variations in rural population density, land tenure, or farm size may account for significant variations both in the choice of crops and in techniques of cultivation observed in neighbouring areas with similar physical potential and constraints. From a global perspective, the four Eastern Caribbean islands exhibit a rather narrow range of interisland variation in land occupancy. Whether or not this variation has had a significant impact on land use and, more specifically, patterns of export banana cultivation can be assessed only by an island-by-island analysis. The issue is more complex than it might at first appear, since, in addition to...

  11. 4 The Environmental Context of Banana Production in the Eastern Caribbean
    (pp. 74-130)

    Evidently, the strikingly different relationships between export banana cultivation and the island environments in neighbouring French and Commonwealth territories in the Eastern Caribbean in the 19605 cannot be adequately explained either by the economic associations of the territories or by their agrarian structures. While these topics could be considered on an island-wide basis, the third potential source of interisland variation, the physical environment, cannot be treated on such a broad canvas. The environment must be investigated not only island by island, but in some cases, district by district, before its influence on the character and distribution of banana cultivation can...

  12. 5 Methods of Production and Disposal
    (pp. 131-143)

    One of the most remarkable features of banana production in the Eastern Caribbean in the 19603 was that in different islands, the same fruit, destined for comparable metropolitan markets, was produced not only in dissimilar locations and by different types of growers but using widely varying methods of cultivation and disposal. Even within a single island, variations might be substantial. Between the most sophisticated farming operations in the French islands and the most rudimentary ones in the Commonwealth islands, the gulf was immense. In this chapter, I shall describe banana cultivation in its least and most intensive forms and begin...

  13. 6 Institutional Structures: The Origins, History, and Character of Eastern Caribbean Banana Growers’ Associations
    (pp. 144-162)

    In a world of untrammelled laissez-faire capitalism, there would be no place for producer associations. Either vertically integrated companies would compete to bring produce from the field to the consumer at the lowest prices consistent with profitable operation, or the produce would be bought and sold by a chain of middlemen, which might include processers, shippers, and wholesalers. Each change of ownership would be freely negotiated according to the laws of supply and demand. In theory, this system should provide the consumer with produce at the lowest possible prices. In practice, it does not necessarily do so since it permits...

  14. 7 Banana Cultivation: Aims, Activities and Impact of Island Growers’ Associations
    (pp. 163-201)

    From establishing banana plantations to harvesting the still-green fruit, growers’ associations have been involved to very varying degrees in the four islands. Their activities have been concentrated in four main areas: research and extension, fertiliser credit schemes, leafspot and other pest control, and hurricane insurance and rehabilitation.

    To understand the somewhat limited direct role of the growers’ associations in banana research and extension, it is necessary to appreciate the role of various other institutions and organisations, many of them with overlapping mandates. Before 1960, most agricultural research in the Commonwealth Caribbean was done in the larger or more populous islands...

  15. 8 Banana Growers’ Association Intervention in Packing, Transport, and Marketing
    (pp. 202-237)

    The influence of differing association policies on the distribution and intensity of banana cultivation in the four islands meant that the associations were confronted with differing challenges when faced with the task of providing the most efficient means of conveying the fruit from the field to the dockside and from the dockside to the overseas market. Their procedures were described in broad outline in chapter 5, but when they are examined in detail, island by island, it is apparent that here again, growers’ associations responded to the challenges that confronted them in characteristically different ways. Some attempted to reduce or...

  16. 9 The Fourth Dimension
    (pp. 238-295)

    To revisit an area after a twenty-year hiatus and reappraise one’s original conclusions in the light of subsequent developments may not prove an entirely reassuring experience. Taking advantage of the double-edged gift of hindsight, it is necessary to examine the ways in which the political, economic, ecological, and technological contexts of the Eastern Caribbean banana industries have evolved, before looking at changes in growers’ organisations and assessing their role in land use in the four islands.

    By the mid-19605, the transformation of French Caribbean colonies intodépartementsof France was more or less a fait accompli. They sentdéputésto...

  17. 10 Conclusion
    (pp. 296-322)

    This book is the account of an exploration of the role that locally organised institutions may play in modifying the possibilities afforded by physical resources and international economic dispositions. Its purpose is to contribute to the understanding of how patterns of agricultural land use evolve, sometimes seemingly in defiance of all rational expectations. In default of two regions sufficiently congruent in all but institutional structures to offer ideal conditions for hypothesis-testing, four Eastern Caribbean islands of broadly comparable physical endowments and economic relationships were chosen as an area for study, since in the 1960s they afforded possibilities for a variety...

  18. 11 Postcript, 1995: Butter Mountain, Wine Lake, Banana Reef?
    (pp. 323-332)

    Nineteen ninety-two, widely anticipated as Doomsday for the banana industries of the Eastern Caribbean, has come and gone. The bananas, for the most part, are still there: a feat of cliffhanging which should be an inpiration to others who see themselves destined to become the inevitable victims of the Juggernaut of Free Trade. In 1988, when the concluding chapter of this book was originally written, there were two views on the future of bananas in the Commonwealth Windwards. Diehard optimists put their faith in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s declaration of the previous year that the United Kingdom government would continue...

  19. APPENDIX Questionnaire Used in Farm Survey, Dominica, St Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe, 1966-67 and 1970
    (pp. 333-340)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 341-354)
  21. Index
    (pp. 355-364)