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Survival by Association: Supply Management Landscapes of the Eastern Caribbeanrn

The establishment of the European Economic Community in 1957 put preferential agreements with non-European trading partners in jeopardy, suggesting the spectre of economic ruin for small Caribbean territories dependent on only one or two crops. Yet, surprisingly, certain industries, notably the banana industry, are still vital elements in Eastern Caribbean economics almost forty years later. How have they survived? Barbara Welch attempts to answer this question by comparing the banana industries of Dominica, St Lucia, Martinique, and Guadeloupe and analysing the critical role of the banana growers’ associations in preserving a precarious status quo. rnrnAlthough the four islands have similar colonial backgrounds and more-or-less parallel development of the postwar banana industry, Welch finds dramatic variations in land use from island to island. She argues that the most critical factor in differences in land use is not politico-economic affiliation, agrarian structures, or the physical environment but the growers’ associations that regulate the banana industries. She provides an account of the origin and development of banana growers’ associations in the Eastern Caribbean, assesses the impact and influence of their policies and activities, and examines the way in which both associations and land-use patterns have evolved since the 1960s.rnrnSurvival by Association addresses an issue of crucial importance not only for the banana growers of the Eastern Caribbean but for all developing countries whose economies are in jeopardy as a result of major realignments in patterns of world trade.

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