Farming in the Spanish Caribbean: Rural Identity, Culture, and Food Production in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba

22 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019

See all articles by Carrie A. Meyer

Carrie A. Meyer

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 14, 2019

Abstract

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

Meyer, Carrie A., Farming in the Spanish Caribbean: Rural Identity, Culture, and Food Production in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba (May 14, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 19-14 (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3387785 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3387785

Carrie A. Meyer (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Enterprise Hall MSN 3G4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1143 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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