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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
Author, Analytic
Barker, David; McGregor, Duncan; Campbell, Donovan
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Paper/Section Title
Environmental change and Caribbean food security: recent hazard impacts and domestic food production in Jamaica.
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Proceedings Title
International Conference on The World Food Crisis and the Global South
Date of Meeting
January 2009
Place of Meeting
Institute for the Study of the Americas/School of Oriental and African Studies
Place of Publication
University of London
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Date of Publication
2009
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Abstract
Domestic food production and imports are the principal components of food availability in a country. In Jamaica, the availability of food has become more and more insecure as a result of a decline in domestic production and an increased dependence on imported food. In addition, academic/scientific opinion suggests that climate change has resulted in the magnification of extreme events such as droughts and hurricanes. This means that farmers in the country are doubly exposed to the negative effects of globalization and climate change. Locally, in the past three years alone the agricultural sector has been affected by at least four hurricanes, several floods, droughts and bush fires, resulting in more than 6 billion in damage, loss of income for thousands of farmers and disruption in the countries food supply. Some farmers have rebounded and have restarted production, however many are yet to recover from the destruction. The relaxation of import duties subsequent to these disasters did not make it any easier for farmers to get back on their feet. Furthermore, in the last ten years, food production per head has dropped over 10%, yet Jamaica is one of the largest exporters of processed food in the Caribbean. Less and less land is under agriculture and more food imports are need for local consumption. Most of the agricultural production is oriented to exports rather than providing food for the local market. Against the background of structural weakness in the agricultural sector (and marginalization of the same), coupled with changes in environmental parameters such as temperature and rainfall on the one hand, and globalization on the other, how vulnerable are small farmers to these changes? And what strategies are they employing to negotiate these stressors? Looking at a case study in Southern St. Elizabeth, the research seeks to provide an understanding of how farmers in the area are adapting to these changes in their environment.....
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