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Title: Cane farming in the Trinidad sugar industry
Author: Maharaj, Dayanand
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1969
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Sugar cane is being produced in the Caribbean under both the plantation and peasant systems of agriculture. This dualism is not only characteristic of Trinidad and the Caribbean, but also of other sugar cane producing countries in the Tropical world. Current problems facing Caribbean territories, namely increasing populations, unemployment, limited land resources and lack of capital for industrialisation make it necessary to study systems of cultivation so that development can be purposefully planned. Historically, in the Caribbean, export crops based on the plantation system have dominated both agriculture and the entire economy. The provision of an infrastructure and services were directed primarily to the benefit of the large estates. This equally applied to the provision of labour supplies, for the peasantry of today grew out of the needs of the plantations and was consequently affected by their requirements,with tenurial rights in some islands remaining almost the same as in the pre-1838 era. This left little scope for the development of prosperous rural communities. Today the sugar industry is experiencing a critical period in its history, as with current cost conditions the plantation sector strives to attain full-scale mechanisation. In this respect policies have to be formulated that will prevent serious social dislocation which could derive from mechanisation. The aim must also be to create vibrant and progressive communities able to attain reasonable Tiving standards while utilising scarce resources efficiently. The dilemma in rural progress in social and economic terms, is in deciding what form development should take for both plantation and peasant, or what is an acceptable balance between the two. This study provides a view of peasant cane farming in Trinidad. Its development is traced briefly, followed by a description of the operation of the whole industry and its impact on the landscape. This is followed by a more detailed treatment of cane farming in which consideration is given to the physical, structural and institutional framework within which peasant cane farming operates. Sufficient information was not available from documentary sources so it was necessary to carry out field studies in the form of the construction of a land -use map and a questionnaire survey among the cane -farming population. From studies of the data collected, it is the opinion of the present writer that size of holding is the major factor affecting production in the peasant sector. This is shown through the interaction of farm -size, capital inputs, yields and other related variables. It is suggested that integrated attempts at planning must be made in order to transform peasant producers into efficient users of limited land resources and that haphazard and laissez - faire attitudes should be reformed. In a changing Caribbean scene where social and economic objectives are sometimes contraposed, it is necessary to chart courses carefully. Both types of objectives are now being considered more closely than earlier in the history of these islands. It is hoped that this study portrays some of the constraints which prevent the development -of the most important form of peasant commercial agriculture in Trinidad, and also in the entire Caribbean region.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available