Domestic Food Production and Food Security in the Caribbean: by Clinton L. Beckford, Donovan R. Campbell (auth.)

By Clinton L. Beckford, Donovan R. Campbell (auth.)

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Additional info for Domestic Food Production and Food Security in the Caribbean: Building Capacity and Strengthening Local Food Production Systems

Sample text

For commercially oriented farmers, crops with export potential do have more prestige because of their income-earning potential. It is unlikely, however, that this export market preference has any significant impact on food security. The main foods that now have export potential were initially grown for subsistence with surpluses being sold locally. This started during slavery on the provision grounds of slaves. In the 1960s some export of food crops started opening up under a new export trade category called nontraditional exports.

He theorized that growth in domestic agriculture without other sectors being strong would be counter-productive, and there would be no markets for produce. He also felt that agriculture could not be the basis for development because of the difficulties in getting favorable agricultural terms of trade (Lewis, 1958). The development of a non-agricultural sector would induce demand for food and create intersectoral linkages. Lewis’s balanced approach to development was not adhered to in the Caribbean (Timms, 2008).

The world’s poorest people continue to face great challenges in food security (Chen and Ravillion, 2004). In this context the global food crisis and the prevalence of hunger is indeed a paradox: the paradox of hunger amidst plenty. Food insecurity is the absence of food security, implying that hunger exists as a result of problems with availability, access, and utilization or that there is susceptibility to hunger in the future (World Food Program, 2009). 3 State of Food Security in the Caribbean Food security and insecurity in the Caribbean are affected by several major factors: (i) declines in productivity of land, labor, and management in the agricultural sector resulting in a weakening capacity to supply food competitively; (ii) decline in earnings from traditional export crops resulting in a reduced ability to purchase food; (iii) the erosion and threatened loss of trade preferences for traditional export crops, the earnings of which are used to buy imported food; (iv) the very high dependence on imported food and the uncertainty of food arrival associated with external shocks; (v) the increasing incidents of pockets of poverty, which affects peoples’ access to food; and (vi) concerns over the association of the high use of imported foods and growing incidents of diet-related diseases as people become estranged from local traditional foods and environment and adopt North American foods and lifestyles.

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