Title: Investigating the success of agricultural diversification among Saint Lucian smallholder farmers
Authors: Melchior Antoine
Addresses: National Chung Hsing University, 145 Xingda Road, Taichung, Taiwan
Abstract: The Saint Lucia banana industry declined severely as a result of the collapse of preferential trade treatment from the EU. The industry continues to suffer from competition from Latin American producers, which has led to sharp drops in prices and income for farmers. These circumstances have pushed policy makers to promote agriculture diversification as a solution. This study sought to examine how farmers have adopted diversification. Six farmers and two extension officers were interviewed and made to fill out questionnaires on questions such as the crops they plant and the challenges they face. This investigation discovered that farmers resorted to either completely abandoning the production of bananas or restricting banana production to satisfy only local market needs. In addition, farmers demonstrated a great deal of dynamism and innovation in experimenting with a range of crops which were mostly grown for the domestic market as opposed to exports. However, a variety of issues hindered the farmers' innovation: high labour costs, lack of organisation, lack of technical support, lack of knowledge and information, praedial larceny, and a lack of access to credit facilities.
Keywords: diversification; smallholder agriculture; Saint Lucia; banana industry; economic resilience.
International Journal of Agriculture Innovation, Technology and Globalisation, 2020 Vol.1 No.3, pp.226 - 237
Received: 06 Jun 2018
Accepted: 17 Oct 2018
Published online: 24 Mar 2020 *