Farming in the Spanish Caribbean: Rural Identity, Culture, and Food Production in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba
22 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019
Date Written: May 14, 2019
Food is not a trivial issue in the Caribbean. The islands of the Caribbean are usually characterized as densely populated and dependent on food imports as a result of their colonial history as producers of sugar in large plantations and under conditions of slavery. The story is largely true. Hundreds of years ago, on most of these islands, imported rice, beans, and salt cod became dietary staples; and the islands have remained dependent on food imports ever since. But this paper will argue that the Dominican Republic stands out in the Caribbean as a producer of food. To substantiate this claim, I will use primarily Food and Agriculture Organization data to compare the countries that make up the Greater Antilles – the four largest islands of the Caribbean – in terms of their ability to produce food and feed their citizens. Subsequently I will examine how the history of the Dominican Republic differed from that of Cuba and Haiti to result in a country that is proud to farm.
Keywords: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Food, Sugar, Peasant Agriculture
JEL Classification: O54, N56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation