Extension implications of agricultural diversification in the OECS States

The unstable economic situation of monoculture due to markets and weather conditions has pushed and is pushing the policy makers of the OECS States to adopt a new strategy of agricultural development - crop diversification. The programme of crop diversification varies from island to island and at times crop diversification and import substitution are viewed in the same light. As a result of this new thrust, extension programmes are being oriented to meet this need. However, the implementation of these programmes is hindered by: (a) the high price currently received for bananas; (b) the unavailability of a technological package with a strong economic component; (c) the unsuitability of the programme to meet family goals of a continuous cash flaw; (d) the unwillingness of farmers, especially the young farmers, to invest in crops with long gestation periods; (e) the inability of extension workers to fully internalize the economics of crops with long gestation periods, i.e., discounting techniques, and thus to de1iver an effective programme; (f) the goals of most crop diversification programmes - e.g. to have a certain number of trees planted within a certain time - conflict at times with land capability and land use policy. There is need for a re-examination of crop diversification programmes given their importance to the economy of the islands.

Issue Date:
Aug 23 1987
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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