The promise of a country


Material Information

The promise of a country the impact of seasonal U.S. migration on the Jamaican peasantry
Physical Description:
ix, 242 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Griffith, David Craig, 1951-
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Peasants -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Migrant agricultural laborers -- United States   ( lcsh )
Jamaicans -- United States   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1983.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 228-241).
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Craig Griffith.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000450210
notis - ACL1878
oclc - 11437639
sobekcm - AA00004896_00001
lcc - HD5856.J2 G7
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Full Text








Jamaicans have a parting phrase which goes, "Give

thanks." It means give thanks to Jah but it is also used

as a means of thanking others, as though gratitude draws

its strength of sincerity from the cosmos. Anyone

preparing for and conducting research for two years

accumulates the need to give sincere thanks many times

over. First and foremost, I thank the Jamaican and U.S.

people who provided me with the information which made this

study possible. I would like to thank each of them

individually but I think it is best to keep their names to

myself, so that their privacy is not further intruded upon.

However, there are some individuals whose aid in this

project should be recognized. I would like to thank Dr.

Carl Stone of the Department of Government of the

University of The West Indies for providing me with

institutional affiliation and taking an interest in this

research. I also thank Mr. Jerry Harrison of the

Agricultural Marketing Corporation, Mr. Leslie of the

Christiana Potato Growers' Cooperative, and the entire

staff of the Integrated Rural Development Project's Two

Meetings Office, for providing me with records and other

information. Dr. Harvey Blustain was particularly helpful,

providing me with copies of his research reports from his

two years with the IRDP. Robert Mowbray at the USAID

office in Kingston was also helpful in this regard.

In the United States, there were a number of people

who helped me during all phases of this research. I owe a

great deal to Drs. Charles Wood and Terry McCoy of the

University of Florida. They hired me as a research

assistant to help collect information on British West

Indian farm workers in South Florida. It was this research

which first stimulated my interest in the project and I

thank them not only for their aid throughout the evolution

of this research but also for giving me access to some of

their data from the South Florida study. I am thankful to

Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith for his support not only during

this project, but throughout my stay at the University of

Florida. He gave me many generous hours of his time,

patience, and advice, and a great deal of whatever

knowledge I possess draws upon his insight, creativity, and

intelligence. Dr. Paul Doughty has likewise given me much

advice, time, and thoughtful conversation, for which I am

thankful. I thank also Dr. Paul Magnarella for providing

me with references while I was preparing for this research

and for agreeing to serve on my dissertation committee.

Dr. Russ Bernard was instrumental in the design of this



research, and without his help my research would have been

far less organized.

Others who provided me with information in the United

States include Mr. Charles Gagliardi of the Washington,

D.C., office of the Department of Labor's Employment and

Training Administration, Agricultural Certifications

Division, Mr. Marvin Peck of the New England Apple

Council, and Ms. Patricia Meier of the Belle Glade Job

Service Employment Agency. I thank all of them for sparing

their time to talk with me. While in the field, John

Pulis, an anthropologist from New York, proved to be a

constant source of discussion and inspiration.

Funding for this project was provided by the

University of Florida's Department of Anthropology, The

Inter-American Foundation, The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral

Dissertation Research Abroad Program, and the Wenner-Gren

Foundation for Anthropological Research. I am extremely

thankful for this support and in particular I thank

Elizabeth Veatch and Mel Astreken of the Inter-American

Foundation for their help in the administration of the

Inter-American Fellowship. I am also thankful to the

Inter-American Foundation review board, in particular Ben

Orlove, Lisa Peattie, Robert Maguire, David Collier, and

Tom Davis. Finally, I owe the greatest thanks to my wife,

Nancy, and my two children, Emily and Brook, for

accompanying me to the field and for giving me the support

I needed to conduct this research. To all of them, give



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................... .. ii

ABSTRACT ........................................ viii


I INTRODUCTION. ....... ............. .. o........ ... 1

Hypotheses and Research Methods ................... 2
Implications of the Study for Peasants
as Labor Migrants ..... ......... ................... .9
A Note on Organization ........................... 18

PROGRAM........... ......... ....... ...... .... ..20

The State and Recruitment In Jamaica.............. 30
Recruitment and the Characteristics of the
Labor Pool........ ............. .. .. ............ 37

PEASANTRY ........ ........ ... ...... ..... ... 47

A Portrait of A Jamaican Peasant.................47
The Two Meetings Watershed....... ................56
Houses, Yards, and People ........................ 58
General Characteristics of Peasant Agriculture
in the Watershed ....... .. ......... .. ... ........... 65
Summary........... .......... ...... ............. 76


Results of the Comparisons............ .......... 81
The Importance of the Growth of the Peasant
Household........ .................... ..... ...... .96
The Life Cycle of the Farm Worker............ 96
Farm Worker Interaction with the U.S. Host
Communities and Consumerism Among
The Workers..... ......... ...... .. .. ..... 99
Primary Uses of U.S. Earnings in Jamaica........107


JAMAICAN PEASANTRY............................ 147

The Shift from Reproduction to Production....... 153
Economic Diversification: Agricultural
And Nonagricultural.............................162
Differentiation and Change in Rural Jamaica..... 173
Changes Within The Peasant Household........ 174
Changes Between Peasant Households.......... 176
Changes Between Peasants, The State,
And Capitalists............................. 182

VII CONCLUSION ......... ..... ..... .. ........ ........ 191

Summary of Findings.................*...* .....191
Implications for Theory and Development ......... 201


(JAMAICAN DOLLARS) ...... ..... ....... ....... ... 217


C POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ......................... 222

BIBLIOGRAPHY ......... .. .... ...... ..228

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH........ .. ............ .......... 242


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



David Craig Griffith

December, 1983

Chairman: Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith
Major Department: Anthropology

Since 1943, Jamaican peasants have been legally

migrating to the United States seasonally and annually to

harvest agricultural products, picking apples in the

Northeast and cutting sugar cane in South Florida. This

study assesses the impact of these migrants on their home

communities, paying particular attention to their

utilization of U.S. earnings. Comparing a sample

population of migrants' households to a sample population

of peasants who have not had equivalent migration

experiences, the study tests hypotheses which predict that

returning migrants will invest in their primary economic

activities, in this case their peasant farms. These

comparisons reveal that few differences exist between the


two populations in terms of demographic, agricultural

production, and socioeconomic variables. The findings lead

to the rejection of hypotheses which predict that labor

migrants returning from developed countries to

underdeveloped ones will substantially contribute to the

development of their home countries. Instead, this study

shows that Jamaican peasant social structure, and peasant

production which is oriented toward household maintenance,

social security, and reproduction, function to spread the

migrants' foreign earnings throughout their social

networks, undermine their ability to accumulate capital,

and, ultimately, aid in the reproduction of the peasantry.

However, in cases of prolonged participation in seasonal,

international labor migration, s-ome peasant households have

been able to shift from spending their earnings in ways

which reproduce the peasantry to the acquisition and

accumulation of capital. This process tends to result in

changes within and between peasant households, and usually

involves peasant households diversifying their economic

activities into agricultural and nonagriculrual sectors of

the Jamaican economy.


This study investigates the consequences of

international labor migration on the social relations and

economic activities of a peasantry. Its central concerns

are the return of international labor migrants to their

home communities and the ways in which the migrants utilize

the money, goods, information, and experiences they acquire

through migrating to another country to work.

Specifically, the study focuses on the impact of the

British West Indies Temporary Alien Labor Program on the

Jamaican peasantry. This program is a legal labor

migration program in which workers from the five Caribbean

countries of Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and

St. Vincent travel to the United States seasonally and

annually to cut sugar cane in South Florida for around five

to seven months (late October to March or April). The

program also allows Jamaicans to travel to the U.S.

Northeast to pick apples during September and October. A

small percentage of those who pick apples also harvest

sugar cane. The decision to focus specifically on the


program's impact on the Jamaican peasantry was based on

preliminary analysis which discovered that 80% of the work

force comes from Jamaica and 91% of the Jamaicans are

peasant farmers while at home (McCoy and Wood, 1982).

Hypotheses and Research Methods

In March of 1981, a research team headed by Terry

McCoy and Charles Wood of the University of Florida

interviewed 302 British West Indian cane cutters at the

South Florida labor camps during the last few days of the

harvest. The purpose of the project was to identify the

sociodemographic characteristics of the labor force, and to

investigate the ways in which the workers were utilizing

their U.S. earnings, both in the U.S. and in their home


It is commonly assumed that migrants' earnings in

developed countries, carried home or remitted, as well as

the skills and experiences they acquire abroad, contribute

to the economic development of the sending countries

(Spengler and Myers, 1977; OEDC, 1978, 1977). Indeed, the

presumed beneficial impact of international labor migration

has been used to justify and legitimate the British West

Indies Temporary Alien Labor Program in both government and

industry circles. For example, a 1978 U.S. Senate/

Congressional report, citing previous testimony in court

cases concerning the program, asserts that the program

". .has the additional merit of being beneficial to the

economy of the British West Indies" and that ". mi-

gration, both temporary and permanent, has contributed and

will in the future contribute to the realization of the

goals of development programs" (U.S. Senate/Congress, 1978:

17, 29). Despite the fact that the program continues to be

justified both here and in the Caribbean by reference to

this presumed beneficial outcome (The Miami Herald, 1982;

The Daily Gleaner, 1982), little empirical evidence has

been brought to bear on the issue. It was therefore

important to discover whether or not these U.S. earnings

were being transmitted to the sending Caribbean economies

in the ways predicted by apologists of the program. A

central aspect of the survey conducted by McCoy and Wood

was whether these cane-cutters were accumulating capital at

home and laying the basis for income-generating activities,

or were simply consuming their earnings, reproducing

themselves and their households, without significantly

contributing to their home countries' economic development.

Survey results indicated that, with the exception of

Barbados, the cane cutters were predominantly recruited

from the small farm or peasant sectors of their home

economies. Around 68% of the West Indian population were

peasants while at home. Analysis of the Jamaican

sub-sample revealed that 91% of these men farmed some land

in 1980, with the average amount farmed being around 3

acres (McCoy and Wood, 1982).

With most of the men coming from small farms sectors

of the Caribbean, one way to determine the program's impact

is to ask whether these cane cutters use their U.S.

earnings for capital formation and accumulation resulting

in increased agricultural production and improved

productivity. The presumed positive impact of U.S.

employment implies that the return migrants would be buying

land, farm equipment and livestock, hiring workers,

bringing more land under cultivation, planting more cash

crops and adopting more of the characteristics of

capitalist economic activity because of their employment in

the U.S. and the skills, knowledge, information, and money

they gain there.

McCoy and Wood tested this hypothesis by comparing farm

workers who had worked for fewer than four seasons with

farm workers who had worked for four or more seasons. As a

result of their longer participation in the program,

workers with four or more years of employment in the U.S.

presumably had more of the information, skills and earnings

than did farm workers with only one to three years of

experience. A multiple classification analysis

demonstrated that the "old timers'" earnings were higher

than the "newcomers'," a result of the sugar companies'

annually screening out the less productive farm workers

(Wood and McCoy, 1982). However, the comparisons revealed

that there were no significant differences between old

timers and newcomers in terms of selected agricultural

variables (amount of land farmed and numbers of heads of

livestock). These findings provide little support for the

contention that seasonal employment in the United States

leads to the formation and accumulation of capital among

small farmers in the Caribbean.

These findings, however, are inconclusive due to the

limitations of the method used by McCoy and Wood. The

approach compares migrants with other migrants rather than

migrants with other Caribbean peasants who have never

worked in this program or have not had an equivalent

employment experience. These tests also fail to take into

account the possibility of nonagricultural investments on

the part of the farm workers who migrate to the U.S.

Empirical evidence from numerous cases of Southern European

and Mexican return migration demonstrate that returning

international labor migrants often invest overseas earnings

in nonagricultural economic activities (cf. Abadan-Nervat,

1976; Brandes, 1975; Reichert, 1981; Dinerman, 1978, 1981).

These findings are supported further by research focussing

on the allocation of extra funds and extra family labor by

peasant households which show that peasant use these extra

resources to finance nonagricultural investments and

economic activities (Cook, 1983; Chayanov, 1966).

A more valid analysis of the impact of The BWI

Temporary Alien Labor Program involves comparing a

population of farm workers who migrate to the U.S. to a

population of Caribbean peasants who have not had the

opportunity to work in this program nor have had an

equivalent employment experience. The present study began

with the intention of making such comparisons.

Specifically, the focus of this analysis was to compare two

such sample populations in terms of a number of

agricultural and socioeconomic variables. These variables

were derived from ethnographic field research conducted

during the first eight months of 1982. This research was

designed to determine the nature of Jamaican peasant

farming and to identify the opportunities open to Jamaican

peasants for investment, farm expansion and growth, as well

as the means by which Jamaican peasants become socially and

economically differentiated from one another.

This phase of field research was conducted in the

9861-acre Two Meetings Watershed in Jamaica's mountainous

interior. From 1977 to 1983, this area was the site of the

Ministry of Agriculture/ USAID Second Integrated Rural

Development Project (IRDP). The total population of the

watershed was around 2000 peasant farm families. In the

absence of a complete list of the families, cluster

sampling was used. The first step entailed mapping the

area and becoming familiar with patterns of settlement and

land use. Subsequently, the watershed was divided into 80

research areas of around 125 acres each. Forty of these

research areas were randomly selected, with the intention

of collecting information on 5 peasant households per area

or a 10% sample of 200. Inclement weather, transportation

problems and other difficulties prevented me from reaching

this goal. As a result, I finished the initial round of

interviewing and observations with a 6.7% sample of 134

peasant households.

Of the households selected, forty-five of these had

one member, usually the male household head, who had

participated or was currently participating in the BWI

Temporary Alien Labor Program. The remaining 89, the

control population, had no such individual, although seven

of these households contained one member who had had

similar or more extensive migration experiences: six

participated in a Canadian Farm Workers Programme (nearly

identical to the U.S. apple harvest migration) and one had

been a long term migrant to England where he was a machine

operator for 15 years. In the final comparisons between

the two populations, I excluded the seasonal Canadian

migrants, yielding a control population of 83.

From all 134 households I collected information on the

aspects of Jamaican peasant farming discussed above as well

as sociodemographic data. This information was

cross-checked by direct observation, through the use of key

informants, with AMC, Potato Cooperative and IRDP records

and by repeated visits to the households and their fields.

Subsequently, I randomly selected a sub-sample of 11 farm

workers' households and 11 control households, from whom I

collected more detailed and more reliable data on

investment strategies, household histories, social

relations with other houses and changes in the farming

system over time, as well as supplementing previously

obtained information. This sub-sample was also used as a

gauge by which I could judge the reliability of the

findings from the larger sample of 134 respondents. From

the farm workers I also obtained additional information

specific to their experience of working in the United

States (e.g., number of seasons, whether they worked in

apples or cane or both, years of travel, expenditures in

the U.S., uses of overseas money, etc.).

After completing the survey research in Jamaica, I

traveled to the United States between September and

December of 1982 to conduct research in the appple growing

region of the U.S. Northeast and the sugar cane growing

region of South Florida. In the U.S. Northeast I visited

three apple labor camps, in Martinsburg, West Virginia,

Winchester, Virginia and Londonberry, New Hampshire. In

addition to observing and interviewing Jamaican farm

workers, I interviewed residents of the U.S. host

communities and U.S. Department of Labor personnel and

consulted local newspapers. Both in South Florida and in

the U.S. Northeast I paid specific attention to the

consumer behavior of the Jamaicans, to the wage figures

shown on their paychecks, to their remittance behavior, and

to their interactions with the native U.S. populations.

Because of difficulties associated with the geographic

distance between labor camps, random sampling was

impossible. Instead, I utilized my relationships with

Jamaicans I had met in Jamaica during the summer of 1982

for the selection of respondents. The information gathered

in this context provides useful data on migrant workers in

the U.S., although the nature of the sample precludes

generalizing to the labor force as a whole.

In 1983, I returned to Jamaica for four months to

observe the behavior of women in the Two Meetings Watershed

and their use of remittances received from the migrants. I

also interviewed and observed migrants' households from

parishes outside the Two Meetings Watershed (primarily St.

Elizabeth and Westmoreland) for comparative purposes.

Implications of the Study for Peasants as Labor Migrants

The findings of this study contain implications for

the study of peasants, especially those analyses which

focus on peasants as migrant laborers. Although peasants

have been the subject of scholar attention for decades,

controversy remains over the precise definition of this

term. While this work will not resolve this debate, it is

necessary to review the characteristics that enter into the

definition used here. Generally, peasant production is

organized on the basis of social relations within and

between rural peasant households. Unpaid or underpaid

family labor, cooperative labor arrangements, and hired

labor are combined within the peasant production process to

provide rural households with agricultural and petty goods

and services. The household is the principal unit within

which decisions are made and in which labor is allocated

for production. The relations within and between

households are dynamically related to the natural or

biological growth of the peasant household and its

relationship to the growth of other households. The

primary object of peasant production is to provide for the

subsistence and the eventual reproduction of the household

(Meillassoux, 1972). Subsistence involves the material

provisioning of the peasant household and draws peasant

households into relationships with one another, within and

between generations, which provide social security for

direct producers and for those too old and too young to

work. Reproduction involves the physiological reproduction

of the human energy necessary to engage in labor-intensive

production, as well as the reproduction of the social

relations within and between peasant households which

provide for social security and provisioning. Peasant

agriculture tends to be characterized by small and usually

marginal landholdings, labor intensive production

techniques, and diverse crop and livestock varieties which

assure household nutritional needs. In addition to

meeting household nutritional needs, peasant farms provide,

or attempt to provide, rural households with cash through

the sale of produce to local, regional, national and

sometimes world marketing systems.

Peasants are not everywhere uniform in the strategies

they employ to survive and reproduce. Some peasantries, as

in the case of Jamaica, include segments who attempt to

acquire and accumulate capital for investment and expansion

purposes. Historically, peasantries such as the Jamaican

peasantry have been defined as living in open peasant

communities as opposed to closed corporate communities

(Wolf, 1957). Although peasants the world over live in

communities that are politically and economically parts of

nation-states, these communities differ with regard to the

degree of their interaction with the nation, and the effect

of outside contact on the social relations within the

peasant community. Jamaican peasant communities have

historically been open to outside influences. Typically,

peasantries such as the Jamaican peasantry include peasants

who, by responding to market and investment opportunities,

have become transformed from peasants into rural producers

who own and control small scale capital. The intrusion of

the world market demand for bananas into Jamaica, for

example, resulted in many peasants becoming small

capitalist farmers (Robotham, 1977: 53; Griffith, 1979),

many of whom retained links to the peasantry. In the case

of those who produced bananas, a substantial portion of

these capitalist farmers returned to a reliance on peasant

social relations following a plague of diseases which

crippled the banana trade in Jamaica (Griffith, 1979).

Although Jamaican peasants are similar to other

peasants in open communities, Migdal (1974) has argued

that communal control and resistance to outside contact in

closed peasant communities has begun to erode. Migration

has contributed greatly to this process (Migdal, 1974:

112-125; cf. Magnarella, 1974: 179-183, 1979:119-123;

Brandes, 1975: 13-17). The findings presented here on the

impact of labor migration on a peasantry may therefore be

applicable to both closed and open peasant communities.

Labor migration is common among peasants for a variety

of reasons. Because they often produce at levels below the

minimum needed for household maintenance and reproduction,

or because their household consumption demands expand as

they are exposed to wider varieties of goods and services,

peasants must often supplement income generated by

household production by seeking wage labor. The necessity

of supplementing household income with wage labor often

results in internal labor migration (migration within the

peasant's home country) or international labor migration.

Both internal and international labor migration among

peasants have received a great deal of scholarly attention

in recent years. These studies have resulted in the

development of theories which seek to understand, explain,

and predict the causes and consequences of labor migration

for both sending and receiving societies.

In the context of these broader issues, this study

presents an analysis of data on Jamaican peasants who

return to their home countries after participating in a

seasonal, international legal labor migration program. A

principal objective is to test the hypothesis that these

migrants contribute to the development of their home

countries by investing overseas earnings in primary

economic activities, in this case their peasant farms. The

findings also have some limited implications for theories

of labor migration among peasants, in particular theories

which address the issue of whether or not return migration

results in the economic development of countries which

routinely supply labor to other, more developed countries.

As noted previously, a central issue in the literature

addressing the relationships between return migration and

economic development is whether or not migrants returning

from developed to underdeveloped countries use their

earnings to acquire and accumulate capital. Capital


formation and accumulation among returning migrants have

received attention because these factors are assumed to be

economically beneficial for underdeveloped countries.

Positive macrostructural effects, in turn, are assumed to

follow from the improvement of the individual migrant's

standard of living, the generation of employment, an

increase in the production of goods and services, and a

decrease in the migrant's reliance on state welfare

systems. On the other hand, if return migrants fail to

accumulate capital with their earnings, using them instead

to meet household expenses, the benefits of international

labor migration accrue primarily to the industries in which

the migrants work. The benefits to the migrants' home

countries and communities are vastly reduced or may, in

some instances, be negative. The latter is presumed to

follow from the fact that sending countries contribute to

the maintenance of migrant laborers during their

unproductive years (youth and old age), while the

industries and countries in which they work receive the

benefits of their labor power during the peak productive

period. Unless the migrants acquire and accumulate

capital, they continue to tax the support systems of their

home countries and communities while contributing little to

the development of productive enterprises which could, in

turn, reduce reliance on these support systems. Without

capital accumulation, the migrant returning home must

continue to rely on wage labor, compete with others for

jobs in countries usually characterized by high rates of

unemployment, as well as compete for such things as credit,

agricultural extension services, development monies, and

health and education services. Finally, without capital

accumulation, the migrant's children also continue to rely

on and need the systems of support provided by the state

and informal social security networks, and must continue to

rely on wage labor.

The impacts of internation labor migration on the

sending countries, however, should not be regarded as

entirely negative. The remittances migrants send to

underdeveloped countries provide foreign exchange for the

underdeveloped country, the migrants' households benefit

during the migrants' years of travel by acquiring goods and

income, and the absence of the migrants reduces pressure on

support systems and labor markets while they are away.

Nevertheless these positive effects must be placed in the

context of the negative factors noted above.

Three dimensions of The BWI Temporary Alien Labor

Program make it particularly suitable to the study of the

impact of return international labor migration on a

peasantry. First, it is seasonal labor migration,

providing Jamaican peasants with the opportunity to

annually move between their home communities and a setting

in which they are wage laborers, spending around half of

the year in each setting. The participation of Jamaican

peasants in this program thus differs from most incidences

of legal international labor migration among peasants,

which usually involve peasants residing in countries

foreign to them for long time periods, such as those who

participate in the European guestworker programs (e.g.,

Magnarella, 1979; Abadan-Unat, ed., 1976; Rhoades, 1978;

Brandes, 1975). Seasonal migration among peasants is

usually confined to labor migration within their home

countries (e.g., Kemper, 1977). Second, the program is

international, with migrants moving between underdeveloped

countries in the Caribbean to a developed country and then

returning to the underdeveloped country. This provides

Jamaican peasants with an opportunity to receive wages

which are high by the standards of their home countries, as

well as to acquire the goods, information, and experiences

of an economically developed setting. Third, the Jamaican

peasants who participate in this program vary with regard

to the number of years they travel to the U.S., some

participating in the program only a single year and others

participating as many as twenty to thirty years. This

allows us to introduce a temporal dimension into the

analysis, focussing specifically on how differential

participation in the program, and hence different degrees

of frequency of movement between the peasantry and the wage

labor setting, leads to differential social relational and

economic impacts within the peasantry.

The analysis of this program's impact on the Jamaican

peasantry proceeds along two comparative lines. First,

comparisons are made between Jamaican peasants who have

participated in the program and Jamaican peasants who have

not had equivalent migration experiences. These

comparisons seek to determine the extent and nature of the

socioeconomic differentiation which occurs within the

Jamaican peasantry as a direct result of seasonal

international labor migration. That is, these comparisons

address the question of whether the single variable of

seasonal international labor migration functions to

differentiate peasant producers from one another.

Second, the aspect of differential participation in

the program allows us to compare the participants in the

program with one another, focussing on the results of

differing degrees of access to the wages, goods,

information, and experiences of the developed world. These

comparisons are designed to investigate the importance of

the number of years of participation. The information

gained through these comparisons contributes to a better

understanding of the role of international labor migration

in the process of socioeconomic differentiation and social

change within the peasantry. This portion of the study

provides insights into the changes which peasants undergo

as a result of differential participation in capitalist

wage labor settings.

A Note on Organization

The following chapter discusses the general aspects of

the BWI Temporary Alien Labor Program and the relationships

that exist between government, industry, and labor in the

U.S. and Jamaica in the context of the program. It argues

that U.S. agribusinesses desire access to this labor force

because they are "captive" laborers, and that the

continuation of the program rests on a particular intimacy

between industry and government which has widespread

political support. It then discusses the recruitment

process in Jamaica, pointing out that national level

intentions are subject to reinterpretation at the local

level, and arguing that the workers recruited for the

program have direct and indirect social connections with

representatives of the Jamaican power structure. Chapter

three, shifting to the microlevel affected by these broader

processes, describes the social environment from which

Jamaican peasants are recruited into the program, paying

particular attention to Jamaican peasant social structure

and the economics of peasant agriculture. Chapter four

presents the comparisons between the farm workers'

households and the control peasants' households, and

explains the results of these comparisons by examining

peasant social structure, the life cycle stage of the farm

workers, and the unreliability of peasant agriculture, in

terms of how they channel peasant economic behavior and

affect the ultimate destinations of U.S. earnings. Chapter

five focuses specifically on the role of women as

recipients of remittances from the program and argues that

their concern for social security functions to reproduce

the labor force and the conditions of life facing the

peasantry. Chapter six then shifts the analysis toward the

differences in expenditure patterns between long-term and

short-term participants in the program. It argues that

long-term participants are sometimes able to satisfy

household consumption, social security, and maintenance

expenditures, and subsequently shift from reproductive

expenditures to the formation and accumulation of capital.

Chapter seven then considers the case of Jamaican peasant

migration to the U.S. in terms of its implications for

theory and development.


In a study prepared by the U.S. House/Senate

subcommittee on immigration, the program which underlies

this study is called The British West Indies Temporary

Alien Labor Program. In the Ministry of Labour and

Employment of the country which provides 80% of the

workers, they call it The Farm Workers Programme. These

names emphasize different aspects of the same program: the

former to its characteristic of admitting non-U.S. citizens

into the United States on a temporary basis, the latter to

its characteristic of admitting these men for agricultural

as opposed to industrial employment. The name Farm

Workers' Programme also conveys the accurate meaning that

the men who participate in the program work on farms not

only in the U.S. but in Jamaica as well. But in Jamaica

they are farm workers of a highly different character: they

work on farms not as wage laborers but as the owners or

principal managers of those farms. They are peasants at

home, rural proletariat abroad. They participate in two

qualitatively different sets of social relations of

production. The products they produce in the two contexts

are only superficially similar: they are agricultural

products in both contexts, but in the U.S. these

agricultural products, apples and sugar, are commodities,

grown strictly for sale. In Jamaica the agricultural

products the farm workers produce are grown for both home

use and for sale. That is, they are foods for the

household which, given a good yield and good market,

sometimes double as commodities, or commodities which,

given a poor yield and poor market, sometimes double as

foods for the household. In the United States they work to

help create profits for others; in Jamaica they sometimes

have to eat the goods which could possibly create profits

for themselves.

Begun during WWII, in 1943, legally sanctioned on

April 29th of that year under Public Law 45, the Farm

Workers' Programme in its first year of operation admitted

13,526 men from the Bahamas and the English-speaking

Caribbean to work as agricultural laborers throughout the

U.S. east of the Mississippi River. World War II was in

full swing and the industrial centers of Detroit, Chicago,

Gary, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Newark, New York and other

cities throughout the Eastern United States were drawing

U.S. citizens out of agricultural occupations and into the

armed forces and the defense industry. These population

movements within the United States stimulated simultaneous

populations movements from the countries of Latin America

and the Caribbean in the U.S. to fill the agricultural jobs

that the U.S. citizens left behind in their rush to help

the war effort. These job opportunities, formerly

restricted to people born and raised in the U.S., were

suddenly offered, on a temporary basis, to people born,

raised, fed, clothed, educated, enculturated, and

unemployed or underemployed outside of the United States.

Responding to cries of labor shortages among the nation's

producers of food and fiber, various agencies and

decision-making bodies within the U.S. government

organized, legalized, and administered the Mexican Bracero

Program, which ran from 1943 to 1964, and the BWI Temporary

Alien Labor Program, which continues today, forty years


During the war years these programs stimulated little

controversy. Few people in either private or public

sectors of U.S. society and economy, including spokesman

for organized labor, accused these few thousand foreign

workers of displacing U.S. workers from jobs or depressing

wages and working conditions. Besides, two years after the

war's end, in 1947, the number of agricultural laborers

admitted from the British West Indies fell by around

10,000, to 3,722. In 1949, the number fell even further,

to 2,765. This absolute decline of BWI workers, however,

did not mean that U.S. citizens were returning to work in

the fields. Instead, in the post-war years, it was largely

mechanization of agriculture that was responsible for the

destruction of these jobs.

Nevertheless not all agricultural harvests have been

mechanized with the same speed and labor saving efficiency.

South Florida's sugar cane fields, for example, are soft

and mucky, formerly vast swamps, today disappearing due to

oxidation at a rate of around an inch per year. These

soils prohibit the use of machine harvesters used by

Louisiana sugar producers (these huge machines squash young

ratoons which grow into the following year's crop).

Regarding the apple harvests, no machine has yet been

successfully tested which can climb trees and gently pick

easily bruised fruit with the delicacy of the human hand.

In addition to the lack of fully mechanized harvest in

these agribusinesses, other developments affecting U.S.

agricultural production during the post-war years also

served to slow the extent to which mechanization undermined

the availability and number of jobs for agricultural

laborers. The sophistication of drainage and irrigation

technology, fertilizers, hybridization breakthroughs,

improved refining, storage and packaging techniques, more

rapid and complex systems of transport, the development of

new products, expanding domestic and overseas markets

during the rising post-war prosperity in the developed

world all contributed to an expansion of acreage planted in

food and fiber crops. Consequently, more agricultural

labor was needed for the production of those agricultural

products that were harvested primarily by human energy.

South Florida sugar producers and U.S. Northeast apple

producers, the principal agricultural producers in the U.S.

utilizing BWI laborers today, taking part in this more

general period of progress, thus needed more and more

workers for their harvests, workers which purportedly could

not be found or relied upon in the domestic labor market.

In 1950 the number of workers imported from the islands

began to rise.

Table 2-1
Numbers of H-2 Visa BWI Workers Admitted Into The United
States: 1950 1975
--- -----------------------------------------------------
Year Number of Workers
--- -----------------------------------------------------
1950 6,255
1955 6,616
1960 9,820
1965 10,917
1970 11,887
1975 12,813

Source: U.S. Congress/Senate, 1978: 27
--- -----------------------------------------------------

In 1981, the U.S. Department of Labor certified 14,735

British West Indians for work in South Florida (U.S.

Employment service, 1982).

How, in the face of rising domestic unemployment, can

these U.S. government agencies justify the continued

admittance of British West Indians for employment in the

United States? The most apparent reason for this is

offered by the Employment and Training Administration of

the United States Department of Labor, the government

agency which administers the BWI program. According to the

ETA, growers desiring access to this BWI labor force have

to satisfy two criteria: first, they must demonstrate that

the admission of BWI workers will not adversely affect

domestic farm laborers' wages or working conditions and,

second, they must, through active recruitment campaigns,

demonstrate that there exists no sufficient domestic labor

force to harvest their crops (U.S. Department of Labor,

1978). Satisfying both these criteria requires the active

involvement of local, state, regional, and the national

offices of the U.S. Department of Labor. Personnel from

the branch offices inspect housing conditions in the labor

camps, aid in the recruitment campaign for domestic workers

by advertising these farm labor jobs in their files, and

act as liaison people between the national DOL office and

the growers in the certification process. The national

office determines the wages and piece rates which are to be

paid to both domestic and foreign workers. Until 1981,

according to the ETA, the national office determined the

so-called "adverse effect wage rates," or the actual wage

and piece rates paid the workers, on the basis of a

Department of Agriculture publication entitled Farm Labor.

Farm Labor published survey materials that gave a state by

state average annual wage rate paid to field and livestock

workers. Taking, for example, Farm Labor's rate for the

State of New Hampshire during 1979 and 1980 and calculating

the percentage increase in the average annual wage rate

from one year to the next, the national office then added

the percentage increase onto the 1980 wage rate to

determine the rate for 1981 for New Hampshire. This rate

was then paid to the Jamaicans who picked apples in 1981.

It was also paid to Jamaicans who picked apples in New

Hampshire in 1982. In 1982, however, the same rate was

paid to Jamaican apple and sugar workers, not because there

had been no percentage increase in average annual wage

rates from 1980 to 1981, but because the Department of

Agriculture publication, Farm Labor, and its information

about wage rates, no longer existed due to U.S. Government

budget cuts.

These are the principal components of the U.S.

government bureaucracy annually involved in the BWI

program. Since 1943, U.S. agribusinesses have been able to

satisfy the criteria of no adverse effects and have been

unsuccessful in their efforts to recruit domestic farm

labor. According to the Florida Fruit and Vegetable

Association, Florida sugar producers annually spend around

$15,000 on recruitment campaigns directed toward domestic

farm labor (McCoy and Wood, 1982). Year after year these

campaigns have failed to produce an adequate, reliable, or

willing domestic labor force for sugar cane harvests. The

New England Apple Council annually publishes statistics

showing that between the beginning and end of the apple

harvest in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusettes, New

Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, only around 20% of the

originally hired domestic labor force worked the entire

season. Most of the domestic laborers who quit do so

before the harvest is six days old (New England Apple

Council, 1980, 1981, 1892). Apple industry representatives

for growers in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and New

York publish similar findings (Reubens, 1979).

But the question of whether or not a domestic labor

force exists to cut sugar cane and pick apples has not been

answered to everyone's satisfaction. The sugar and apple

growers maintain that no reliable domestic labor force

exists and appeal to statistics compiled and published by

growers and their representatives to support their

purported need for British West Indian labor. Yet many

organizations and agencies in the U.S., particularly since

the beginning of the 1970s, have legally questioned the

implications contained in these statistics. In 1973, the

United Farm Workers attempted to obtain an injunction

against the importation of foreign workers for the Florida

sugar cane harvest, claiming the sugar corporations were

lax in their efforts to recruit domestic cane cutters. The

UFW was defeated in court, primarily because of testimony

stating U.S. citizens simply could not do the work because

of a "social taboo" (Shabecoff, 1973: 24). In a series of

court cases brought against the growers since 1977, the

U.S. Department of Labor has attempted to provide a

domestic labor force for the sugar and apple harvests by

bringing in workers from various parts of the United

States, including Puerto Rico, but has usually failed to

have these actions legally upheld by court decisions.

In these cases, sugar and apple growers base their

denial of relying on a domestic labor force on past

experience. Grower-funded publications tell us that year

after year, although a full contingent of domestic workers

may begin the apple harvest, at least 70% of this domestic

labor force quits in the first five days of the harvest.

With Jamaican labor, however, the situation is quite

different. The Jamaicans are, in the terminology used by

the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S.

Department of Labor, a "captive labor force." They cannot

choose to move on to new and subjectively better jobs.

They are certified to work for a single employer, and they

cannot legally work anywhere else in the United States.

They can go back home if they so desire, or "run away,"

becoming illegal aliens. But if they wish to work legally

in the U.S., they must work for the single employer with

whom they have signed a contract. Domestic workers, on the

other hand, have the freedom of movement to move on to

better jobs and, according to grower publications, usually

do move on to better jobs. The captive nature of the

Jamaican work force thus assures the apple and sugar

growers that their crops will be harvested and it is this

aspect of the Jamaicans which primarily underlies the

growers' preferences for Jamaicans over domestic labor.

But this is not the only reason. The Jamaicans also

constitute a much more docile and accommodating work force

than domestic laborers, because if they act up at all,

attempt to unionize or strike, for example, the growers

will not call them back the following year. And, even

though the apple and sugar harvest may be undesirable

occupations among U.S. citizens, among the Jamaicans,

products of a poor country without employment opportunities

as relatively high-paying as these U.S. agricultural jobs,

these occupations are highly desirable.

The final and perhaps most convincing argument used by

the growers to gain access to this labor force concerns the

specific characteristics of the labor force and the

structure of the work setting. In Florida especially, the

work setting requires the mobilization and transfer of

eight to nine thousand men who are willing to work without

their families for five months out of the year, and who can

conveniently disappear at the end of the harvest. This

kind and scale of labor mobilization and transfer would be

difficult or impossible to achieve by relying on the U.S.

domestic labor market. Because the BWI workers come

predominantly from Caribbean peasantries, their own farms

and households can support them between sugar and apple

harvests, and while they are gone the other members of

their households can care for their farms. Thus, while the

U.S. domestic labor market may be unable to accommodate the

needs of growers, the Jamaican peasantry, as a labor

market, satisfies growers' needs.

The State and Recruitment in Jamaica

In Jamaica, the state is no less instrumental than the

DOL in the annual process of reproducing the program. U.S.

apple growers can request 100% of thier workers to return

annually. However, U.S. sugar growers can only request 60%

of their foreign workers to return each year. McCoy and

Wood describe the relationships that exist between the

sending governments and the sugar industry as follows:

For its part, the sugar industry seeks to restrict
participation to those workers who have demonstrated their
reliability and productivity during previous seasons. The
island governments, on the other hand, feel the need to
keep the opportunity open to as many of their citizens as
possible. The existence of these competing interests has
led to the institutionalization of a compromise recruiting
procedure. The arrangement balances the growers'
preference for a stable, experienced worker force with the
desires of the BWI governments to spread participation in
the migratory stream around among their populations. (1982:

In Jamaica, in the spring of every year, job cards are

sent out from the Ministry of Labour in Kingston to

Ministers of Parliament throughout the island. These job

cards are passes into a three to four hour session in the

parish capitals where U.S. agribusiness representatives

meet with job card recipients and select from these

gatherings their labor pool. The job cards are chances at

employment in the U.S., not guarantees. They are scarce,

highly desired slips of paper representing not only the

possible chance to work in the U.S. but to acquire access

to the goods the U.S. has to offer and to have, for perhaps

the first time in their lives, steady incomes with which to

purchase those goods. The men who receive them protect

them with brown paper or plastic wrappings and handle them

as delicately as a single surviving photograph of a dead


Overtly, the system of job card distribution follows

lines of political patronage throughout the island.

Ministers of Parliament receive their quotas of cards from

the Ministry of Labour and Employment and pass them to

their appointed liaison officers and councillors within

their constituencies. Minister's quotas change annually

but the rural MPs receive more cards than urban ones, given

the agricultural bias of the program. The MP for Northeast

Manchester, for example, received 276 job cards in 1982.

On the local or district level in the countryside, the

political party action groups are called committees and

each district has both Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) and

People's National Party (PNP) committees. If the MP is a

JLP member, it will be local JLP committees who receive the

cards from the MP's liaison officers and councillors.

These committee members are the men and women who actually

hand the cards out to the Jamaican men who meet with the

U.S. agribusiness representatives. Along with the job

cards the committee members receive a sheet of paper

describing characteristics which they are to use to select

workers. Workers are supposed to be between the ages of 21

and 45, for example, have muscular builds, be reliable

workers, and so on.

But when dealing with a social resource as highly

desired as job cards, these selection criteria and the neat

structuring of the system of job card distribution yield

ground the to nepotism, favoritism, promises, achievement,

sympathy, kindness, bribery. As the following table

indicates, although the primary sources of job cards are

committees, nearly 40% come from other sources:

Table 2-2
Sources of Job Cards (n=45)
--- -----------------------------------------------------
Source Percent of population
--- -----------------------------------------------------

Committee 61.3
Minister of Parliament 12.9
From another person
who first received card 12.9
Justice of Peace 6.5
Ministry of Labour 6.5
--- -----------------------------------------------------

There are indications that on the local level the

strongest determinants of the handing out of job cards are

largely familial or familial-like in nature. The incidence

of committee members giving job cards to their sons,

step-sons, nephews, brothers, cousins, and other male

friends and relatives is high. Around 70% of the workers

in my sample have had brothers, cousins, fathers and sons

who have also received job cards. Another 20% received

their cards because of friendship ties, either directly or

indirectly through fathers or uncles who received the cards

because they were friends with some politician or other

involved in the job card network.

Table 2-3
Connections for Job Cards
--- -----------------------------------------------------
Connection Percent of population
--- -----------------------------------------------------

Kinship 68.5
Friendship 20.3
None 11.1
--- -----------------------------------------------------

Other strategies of gaining access to these cards include

working for political party elections, giving labor free to

committee members, outright cash expenditures (tips) to

committee members, or committee members keeping the cards

for themselves. Moreover, the system of job card

distribution does not always end with the politicians (see

table 2-2, row 3). Once the committee members and other

politicians have parted with their cards, around a month

before meeting with U.S. agribusiness representatives, the

favors, debts, rights, obligations, and so on which come

into play are demonstrative of the desperation and

ingenuity which the rural poor so often draw upon to gain

access to scarce social resources. As evidence of the

desperation involved, one woman told me of a case where a

son threatened to kill his own father if his father failed

to give him the card he received from the committee.

Extreme and unimaginative means such as these, however, are

reported with much less frequency than cases of men

offering free of immediate charge their labor, time,

donkeys, spray pumps and other resources at their disposal

in order to cultivate connections with individuals who have

potential access to the job cards.

The resourcefulness and ingenuity of these Jamaican

men trying to get job cards is all the more admirable, as

well as more evidently desperate, when one considers that

these cards guarantee nothing. As noted previously, all

these cards do is let the men into a session where they

meet with representatives of the Florida Fruit and

Vegetable Association, the Jamaican Ministry of Labour and

the U.S. sugar corporations that hire the workers. This

team of selectors further trims the list of men eligible

for the program. How many names they put on the list which

constitutes the labor pool depends on how many men they

happen to need in a given year. By what objective or

subjective criteria these sugar industry representatives

decide to select or reject Jamaicans only the

representatives themselves can say, but the time they spend

with each man cannot be more than a few minutes. For

thirteen days, for an average of three to four hours per

day, these selectors visit one parish capital per day and

meet with between 300 and 400 Jamaican men a day. No more

than six or seven of this team actually interview the

workers. According to the workers, these six or seven

interviewers check the hands, eyes and teeth of the

Jamaican men and ask them a few questions like, "Can you

eat rice and pork every day for five months?" or "Can you

work all day seven days a week?" or "Have you ever cut

sugar cane before?" The check of the hands is supposedly a

means to determine a background of agricultural laboring

which causes a roughness and callousness to form over the

palms and fingers. The check of the eyes and teeth

evidently is some indication of general bodily health. If

they pass this verbal and physical screening, they are

subjected to a more rigorous physical examination in

Kingston and in their parish capitals on subsequent


To give an indication of what these screening sessions

are like, on May 14, 1982, in a small park in Mandeville,

capital of the parish of Manchester, around three hundred

to four hundred men gathered, beginning at 6:00 AM, to

await the arrival of these sugar industry and Jamaican

government representatives. They showed up early, standing

around in groups of four and five, taking part in the

general tension and anxiety coursing through the crowd.

Around 7:30, three identical silver Honda Accords pulled

into the park. These contained the men from the FFVA and

the U.S. sugar corporations. Twenty minutes later, a

copper colored van bearing the Ministry of Labour insignia

pulled into the park, loaded with bureaucrats toting forms

in triplicate and other cumbersome paraphernalia.

Subsequently, the men filed through for their short

sessions with the FFVA and sugar industry representatives.

Then and there they were told whether they passed or failed

this initial screening, but even those who passed were not

assured of U.S. employment. They still had to pass the

medical tests and even then their names might have been

placed on a list of replacement cane cutters and apple

pickers, called only in the event of another worker meeting

an accident overseas. So even after all their jockeying

for political favor and job cards, the chance exists still

that they will not be called for employment in the U.S.

Recruitment and the Characteristics of the Labor Pool

Because the nature of job card distribution determines

the character of the labor pool from which U.S.

agribusinesses draw their men, any attempt to improve upon

the program by selecting for "desirable" characteristics

among the Jamaican men must acknowledge this discrepancy

between national and local level priorities, affiliations,

goals, and loyalties. What is of primary importance in

this study, however, is not the potential of an improved

program but the empirical dynamics of the program as it

exists today. It is within such empirical analysis, and by

virtue of empirical analysis alone, that we are able to

understand and subsequently determine what improvements in

the program are possible. Consequently the question we

must ask of job card distribution is this: What does it

tell us about the current complexion of the labor pool

which fuels this program?

Recent research on the socioeconomic backgrounds of

international and internal labor migrants tells us that

they tend not to come from the poorest strata of rural

society. Because of the high costs associated with

international travel and settlement in a foreign country,

extremely poor peasant farmers simply cannot acquire enough

money to make such a move. Instead, international labor

migrants tend to come from somewhat richer, better

educated, and generally more experienced members of rural

life, their migration being yet another step in the

continuing attempts at improving their already relatively

higher standards of living. Kemper, studying internal

migrants from Tzintzuntzan to Mexico City, found that

migration from the country to the city was not a single,

blind, desperate move but was instead based upon a dynamic

of social and financial support from the household of

origin to households, often related, at destinations within

Mexico City (1977). Such necessary connections are usually

cultivated through long, intergenerational social

positioning which draws upon the prior resourcefulness and

existing social connections of grandparents, parents,

siblings, and direct and mutual friends in both

Tzintzuntzan and Mexico City. Portes (1979), studying

illegal Mexican migrants in Texas, found that they were

generally better educated than the norm of Mexican rural

society. Ransford Palmer describes the long-term Caribbean

immigrants to New York and other areas of the Eastern

seaboard as containing a high percentage of people from

skilled technical and professional fields (1976).

Bonacich, Light and Wong (1977), studying Korean immigrants

to Los Angelos, and Reichert (1981) and Dinerman (1978,

1980) in Mexico also come to similar conclusions concerning

the backgrounds of migrants.

The logic common to these studies is that poor

households cannot finance migration. The Jamaican men who

travel to the U.S. to work in this program, however, do not

have to spend much of their households' money to do so.

Beyond nominal transportation fares between their home

districts, parish capitals, and Kingston for the initial

selection and medical tests and finally the flight to the

U.S., the burden of the costs associated with travel and

settlement are initially borne by the Government of Jamaica

and the U.S. apple and sugar companies for whom these

Jamaican men work. Free housing is provided for the men,

board costs are deducted from their fortnightly paychecks

and their air fare is paid by their employers as long as

they work for at least one half of the contract period

(Agreement for the Employment of British West Indians In

Agricultural Work in the United States of America, Form A,

1982: Clauses 5a and 5f). Without having to bear the heavy

transportation and settlement costs associated with an

international move, it is conceivable that men from

relatively impoverished households can participate in this


The Jamaican men who come to the U.S. to work in this

program, however, do not come from the poorest strata of

Jamaican society. The reasons for this are clear. First,

the poorest of the Jamaican poor tend to be women household

heads and especially urban women household heads (Chaney,

1982). The obvious male and rural bias to this program

precludes these members of Jamaican society from

participation in the program. Second, in order to pass the

tests of U.S. selectors, these men must maintain an

appearance of strength, adequate nutrition, and other

visible characteristics associated with physical fitness.

Subsequent medical test must uphold the largely subjective

decisions of these U.S. selectors. This, however, does

little to diminish the male population eligible for the

program: distended stomachs, brittle hair, wasting away,

skin disorders and other visible characteristics associated

with debilitating nutritional deficiencies are highly

uncommon among Jamaican men over the age of 20. While

Chaney argues that "the principal dietary problem is

insufficient proteins and calories available to the poorest

70 percent of the population," she also says, "only 0.9%

could be classified as severely malnourished" (Chaney,

1982: 2-4). Most of these are young children. Finally, to

get job cards, participants in the program must in most

cases have either direct or indirect kinship or friendship

ties with local political party committee members, or else

must be able to devote time and energy to the cultivation

of these connections. In the Jamaican countryside, the

extremely poor, often landless peasants and rural

proletariat, usually do not have these ties and cannot

devote time to their cultivation. Two findings support


this: 1) the Jamaicans most qualified to cut sugar cane,

those who are professional cane cutters, represent only 20%

(see table 2-4) of the U.S. cane cutting labor force, and

professional Jamaican cane cutters are among the poorest

landless rural proletariat in Jamaica; and 2) the kinds of

land tenure arrangements which tend to characterize poor

Jamaican peasants (service tenure and sharecropping) are

practiced by only 1% of the U.S. cane cutting labor force

(see table 2-5) (McCoy and Wood, 1982; Beckford, 1972;

Griffith, 1979).

Table 2-4
Experience Cutting Sugar Cane (n=206)

Experience Percent of population

None 58.3
On own farm 21.1
Professional 18.1
Own farm and
professional 1.5
Professional on
another island .5

Table 2-5
Home Land Tenure Among Jamaican Workers In South Florida

Form of Tenure percent of population

Own 27.2
Lease/rent 31.6
Sharecropping 1.1
Family land 27.4
Other 6.5

While the Jamaican men who participate in the program

do not come from the poorest strata of Jamaican society,

neither do they tend to come from households capable of

financing their members' migration and settlement in a

foreign country. They must be connected to or be capable

of establishing connections with local political figures,

but most often, for politically strategic reasons, these

local political figures at the district or committee level

are not much better off than the farm workers who travel to

the U.S. in the program. Indeed, many of the committee

members either give their job cards to brothers, nephews,

sons, step-sons or other male household members or keep the

cards for themselves. Nevertheless the committee members,

and by extension the recipients of job cards, are at least

loosely or indirectly connected to the Jamaican power

structure. This connection constitutes a social resource

with the potential of yielding not only jobs in the United

States but also such things as access to credit,

agricultural extension services, development programming

(i.e., aid monies and materials from Norway, New Zealand,

England, Germany, the U.S. and other developed countries),

government job contracts and so on. Whether they get these

job cards by their own resourcefulness or by being the son

of a committee member, eventual possession of them is

evidence that these farm workers have direct and indirect

access to Jamaica's social resources. Social resources,

throughout this work, refer to the resources a society has

which provide access to social forces of production, to

investment opportunities, employment opportunities, and

markets. In addition to job cards, they include, for

example, credit institutions, agricultural extension

services, lawyers, politicians, and administrators of

marketing centers. They can also include influential

people who can provide access to economic opportunities.

Norman Long refers to this access to social resources

as "the strategic placement" of individuals within their

broader social systems (Long, 1977: 135). Other social

scientists studying peasants in recent years have referred

to this strategically placed segment of rural peasant

society by other terms and phrases but the importance of

these designations is usually the same: it is from these

strategically placed rural households that we expect to

find, and do in fact find, the highest levels of

entrepreneurship among the peasantry (Long, 1977; Long and

Richardson, 1978; Pearse, 1975; Migdal, 1976; Cook, 1983).

These peasants with the highest degrees of access to social

resources, either because of preexisting kinship and

friendship ties or by virtue of their own cunning and

ingenuity, tend to be the same peasants who innovate,

experiment, invest their time, energy, and money, and

utilize all the social and economic resources at their

disposal to better their standards of living and in some

cases create viable, growth-oriented, profit-generating

economic enterprises. In these endeavors, of course, the

social system within which they operate must cooperate to

some extent. Such socially advantageous situations,

however, are rare among the peasantry, and the social

systems in which they act more often hinder than help their

entreprenuerial activities. This is partly because of a

misunderstanding of the dynamics of peasant

entrepreneurship and partly because of the demands of a

broader social order which dictates poverty to many for the

maintenance of the wealth of a few. Nor does development

programming as it exists today and has existed for the past

thirty years tap this peasant resourcefulness, given the

documented failures of development programs throughout the

Third World under the rubric of the Green Revolution during

the 1950s and 60s and aid agencies such as USAID today

(Hewitt de Alcantara, 1976; Belshaw, 1976; Spicer, 1952;

Paul, 1955). The most innovative, creative, experimental

and ingenious of peasant entrepreneurs are not necessarily

or automatically the most receptive to development

programming. Although they usually will take advantage of

some of the services a development project has to offer,

peasant entrepreneurs, numerous social scientists have

demonstrated, are often more knowledgeable about the local

social setting, economic, and ecological constraints and

potentials than the so-called "experts" (whom the late

Solon Kimball defined as "someone from out of town").

Moreover, rural development programming is usually

agricultural development programming and little or no

attention is given to the documented attempts of peasants

to search for nonagricultural investments in such areas as

crafts production (Cook, 1983), transportation, middleman

functions, and so on (Pearse, 1975; Burchard, 1974).

Just because the Jamaican men who participate in this

program have access to these job cards and other social

resources, however, does not lead automatically to an

assumption of an ingenious population of peasants coming to

the U.S. to work. Most of these men, remember, acquire job

cards by virtue of preexisting kinship and friendship

connections. That they take advantage of the particular

social resource of job cards is no indication that they

will take advantage of other social resources. Nor is it

any indication they will put the money they make in the

U.S. to uses which generate future standard of living

increases. Surely some can and some do. However,

allegiance and influences change within the Jamaican power

structure and these are felt at the district level.

Nevertheless, the element of strategic placement and the

potential for entrepreneurship characterizes these seasonal

farm workers to the U.S. With all the overseas money they

make annually, around three to four thousand U.S. dollars


per worker per year, it is appropriate to assume, for the

purpose of social scientific investigation, that they enjoy

higher standards of living and finance, and engineer more

productive economic enterprises than their rural peasant

brethren whom they leave behind.


A Portrait of a Jamaican Peasant

It is before dawn and although Lenworth is still in

bed he has not been asleep for hours. A fog has thickened

during the night, reaching from the valley floor to above

the ridge, making the air damp and cool. The foot-worn,

bare, shiny concrete of the floor feels smooth and cool as

he slips from the double bed where his wife and their three

youngest children still sleep. The youngest child, a girl,

is two weeks old. There is no clock in the room and

Lenworth does not have to look at his wristwatch to know

that first light is less than an hour away. Through the

blue and green length of cloth that hangs in the doorway to

the next room he can hear his three other children

breathing, sleeping on blankets on the floor. Two of the

four rooms of his rough concrete block house are suitable

for living, but the room in which he sleeps is the only one

that is completed. The next room needs a jalousie window

in the space that is now boarded over, and a bed for the


In two hours the July sun will have burned off the fog

and Lenworth will be waiting in Christiana outside the

office of the Director. The Director has three weeks of

work which consists of clearing away the tall grass around

the young pine trees along a northeast facing slope in the

Yankee Valley, across the asphalt road from Lenworth's

home. The Director promised Lenworth the work a month ago

but now the Community Development Officer is trying to give

the contract to a friend with whom he worked in the last


Although it is still dark Lenworth does not light the

kerosene lamp on the dresser at the foot of the bed. The

room is small, ten by twelve feet, and Lenworth moves to

the front door in three strides and steps outside. He

stands in the gray dust of the unfinished block veranda,

inhaling the cool air carrying odors of farm animals and

bougainvillea and wet grass. He wears only a pair of

shorts. On his chest there are patches of tight, curly

hair. Soon the houses along the road will start their

morning fires and he will smell coffee and woodsmoke and

yams roasting. Somewhere far away a cock crows and

Lenworth thinks that a mongoose in the grass wakes to note

the cock's position. He stands looking at his two young

goats tethered to a breadfruit tree and hopes he will not

have to sell them to buy rice and flour and condensed milk.

He calls them his doctor bills. It would be a crime to

have to sell them for anything less than an emergency.

Lenworth walks over to the goats and consoles them.

His eldest son, Isra, will take them down to the summer

flowers and grass by the river before he leaves for school.

The goats press against him. Lenworth's skin is deep

black, as black as a Bible's cover, and when he stands he

is five feet nine and finely muscled from work in the

fields. The toes of his feet are splayed from walking

barefoot and his hands are rough and caloused.

Lenworth leaves the goats to walk through the four

square chains of garden around his house. He and Barbara

have planned the planting and care of the garden so it will

bear some kind of food during every month of the year.

Daily they can count on small yields of casava and yam for

the household. Soon they will have jack fruit and

breadfruit, just as the fruit of the sour sap tree begins

thinning. The sorrel plants are young now. At Christmas,

Barbara will squeeze the fruits into a sweet red

traditional drink. He stoops to the youngest of the yam

vines, their new growth smooth and purple. Behind them,

further down the slope, crooked stakes support the thorny

vines of yams that are ready to eat. Between these are a

few banana and plantain trees and seven small coffee trees.

Along the side of the house are patches of sweet potato,

pok chow, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, and thyme, and in

front there are twelve pineapple plants in a small space

ringed with begonia. Lenworth has five young ganja plants

which he is watching to determine whether they are male or

female. The males he will pull up to increase the potency

of the females.

Around the side of the house, below the jalousie

window of the room where Lenworth sleeps, a rusted oil drum

stands with a twelve inch wide sheet of corregated zinc

rising from the water in the drum. Lenworth rounds the

house to the drum and dips a red plastic cup into the water

and drinks. Already the eastern sky is brightening. In

the pale light, the yellowing whites of Lenworth's eyes are

the color of the grayish tan smoke from burning sugar cane.

On Lenworth's chin is a small, square beard, and the tight

curls of his hair on his head are cropped close. His skin

conforms closely to his high, protruding cheek bones.

Between these his broad nose's nostrils angle up and back.

He is missing a front tooth.

He hears, inside, his wife Barbara stirring from bed.

Through the window he watches her leave the house, carrying

a machete. She walks around the other side of the house,

crosses the stamped smooth dirt of the back yard into the

field of yams behind the house that slopes down into the

valley. She digs down under the yam vines and severs a

piece of yam from the huge root. Finishing, she joins

Lenworth at the drum and drinks from the same cup. She is

five inches shorter than Lenworth, lighter skinned, still

overweight in the aftermath of pregnancy. The hem of her

full-length, light blue robe is the red of the soil and

frayed from dragging along the ground.

The small, rectangular wood structure behind them, now

their kitchen, used to be attached to a seven room wooden

house that they have since dismantled for firewood. It

belonged to Lenworth's mother, whose grave is marked in the

yard with a concrete slab. She has been dead less than a

year. During the last years of her life she lived with

Lenworth and Barbara. She saw Lenworth travel to Canada

for two years to work in a cannery and saw him use his

earnings to build the four room concrete block house. He

was not called back after the second year and the

construction of the house had to stop. Just before she

died she saw him begin travelling to the United States as a

farm worker.

The bottoms of the slabs around the the kitchen are

jagged, rotting, insect-eaten, rust-colored where they

touch the ground and soak up its moisture. Barbara crosses

from the drum to the kitchen and, inside, selects wood for

the morning fire. In the rear of the kitchen, on a metal

lid from an oil drum on a shelf, she builds the fire.

Smoke fills the kitchen, seeping through the cracks in the

kitchen wall and above through the ill-fitted shingles of

the roof.

Lenworth is inside now, dressing for the meeting with

the Director. His finest clothes he keeps in a suitcase on

top of the tall cardboard wardrobe that stands in the

corner beside the door. Inside this same suitcase he and

Barbara keep their most important papers and records: the

title to two pieces of land, Lenworth's now expired

driver's license, Barbara's savings account pass book

showing a balance of two dollars, the identification card

Lenworth used when he travelled to Canada and a similar

card and pay slips from his two years as a farm worker in

South Florida. His second youngest child, a boy of four

years, breathes irregularly on the bed in the same room.

He has a slight cold. Lenworth treates the cold with a

mixture of myrrh, ganja, water, and white rum. Lenworth

believes that the ganja has the same effect as penicillin.

From the suitcase he takes his only pair of slacks

which do not have holes in them and a blue knit sport

shirt. If he were going to work in the fields he would be

dressing in the black ragged slacks and t-shirt that are

draped over a small wooden bench outside the door. He

wishes this thing with the Director and the Community

Development Officer had not occurred because he needs to

plant some yam heads on the three square plot of land by

the airstrip. Barbara could do it if she were not still

recovering from childbirth. The moon is right for the


There is enough light in the room from the sun now

that he can see himself in the mirror above the dresser.

Taped to the mirror are yellowing snapshots. Below these,

on the dresser's top, sit jars of Vaseline and lotions and

a tin of powder for the newborn. Lenworth adjusts his

beret in the mirror, slanting it to the side, and then goes

outside to join Barbara for breakfast. She hands him a

plate of roasted yam mixed with a small portion of salt

fish and a single slice of white bread. He has coffee in a

tin cup, sweetened and clouded with canned milk. Barbara

has only coffee.

They speak of the meeting with the Director. Lenworth

tells her that he needs a letter to show the Community

Development Officer. The letter must be signed by the

Director and must say that the work was promised to

Lenworth. The Director knew Lenworth's maternal

grandfather and Lenworth hopes that this will help the

Director decide in Lenworth's favor. Barbara knows that

once Lenworth has mentioned his grandfather he will begin

on the subject of his father's side of the family, most of

whom are in England. At fifteen Lenworth's father tried to

get Lenworth to England but could not acquire the necessary

papers. Lenworth is thirty-three years old and has not

seen his father for twenty-two years. He still regrets

that bad luck with the papers. In England, now, he has two

half-sisters who are nurses and a half-brother who drives a

bread truck. His father works in the bakery which supplies

the truck.

The sun is full now and the heat of the day beginning

to create waves of thick vapor from the green of the

valley. Soon the first taxi heading to Christiana will

pass. The kitchens along the road, beside their houses,

are now all beginning to send up smoke through the thatch

or around the zinc of their roofs. Inside the house the

children are waking up. Isra steps from the house in his

khaki school uniform and takes the two goats down the

footpath to the river. Barbara fetches the newborn and

suckles her. Gloria, Daphne, and Narissa, the other three

girls, step outside dressed in the light-colored blouses

and navy blue smocks that Barbara sewed by hand. She

purchased the cloth in Christiana from a store owned by a

Syrian family. The money came from selling three hundred

pounds of yellow yam to Gwen, the higgler who owns a rum

shop by the airstrip. The last one out of the house is

Karl, the four year old with the cold. He is bare from the

waist down and the front of his striped shirt is in rags.

He has a round chubby face and small features like his


Lenworth has finished his breakfast and while the

others eat he goes into the unfinished room inside the

house and takes a paint can from the corner. Inside the

silver can are ganja and a portion of a brown paper grocery

bag. He tears off a section of the paper, fills it with

around one-quarter ounce of ganja, and rolls it into a

four-inch, cone shaped cigar, twisting the large end

closed. With the unlit cigar in his mouth he puts on his

tennis shoes and moves from the house to the kitchen to

light the cigar with a stick from the fire. Isra has

returned from tethering the goats. Lenworth tells him that

he must return directly home from school and then meet him

at the yam ground by the airstrip. They have to plant yams

and cut stakes for the vines from the brush near the IRDP's


From the road now, a half-mile away, come the sounds

of the light blue Hillman that will carry Lenworth to

Christiana. There are two taxis that travel the road

between Christiana and Silent Hill and always Lenworth

rides in the Hillman because it is owned by a friend of

his. He climbs the path to the road, ten yards away,

reaching the road just as the Hillman rounds the bend. As

he gets into the car he feels good that he is finally going

to meet with the Director.

Lenworth and his family live in the Two Meetings

Watershed in central Jamaica. The above description was

designed to give the reader a general impression of some

aspects of Jamaican peasant life. The following discussion

presents information on the physical, social, and economic

environment in which Lenworth and his family live.

The Two Meetings Watershed

Until early in 1983, the Two Meetings Watershed had

been one of the two sites of the USAID/Ministry of

Agriculture 2nd Integrated Rural Development Project

(IRDP), a project begun in 1977 with the aid of the

Norwegian government and subsequently funded by USAID from

1978 to 1983. According to Peace Corps volunteers and

USAID personnel, early in 1983, some accounting

discrepancies were discovered, funds allocated for specific

works projects had mysteriously disappeared, the project

crumpled and USAID pulled out. The former project's

southern boundary begins about a half-hour's ride by

minibus north of Mandeville, the bauxite mining boom town

and the country's largest inland city, capital of the

parish of Manchester. The watershed itself extends into

small sections of four parishes: N.E. Manchester, N.W.

Clarendon, S.W. St. Ann, and S.E. Trelawney. Shown a map

of Jamaica, someone asked to point to the dead center of

the island would probably come pretty close to the Two

Meetings Watershed. This central location accounts in

large part for the wide variety of foodstuffs and other

goods sold on Fridays and Saturdays in the peasant markets

in Christiana and Spaldings, the two major marketing

centers within the watershed. In addition to these

commercial centers, the watershed encompasses all or

portions of the smaller towns of Dump, Alston, Lorrimers,

Wild Cane, Bohemia, Moravia and Silent Hill. Such towns

are characterized by one to four small grocery stores (rum

shops), a bakery, a postal agency, a church, a school,

perhaps a ginger merchant or a banana boxing plant. In

all, there are around nineteen districts in the watershed,

the lowest level political divisions in Jamaica. In 1978,

IRDP personnel estimated the watershed's peasant population

to be around 2000 farm families, or around 15,000 people of

all ages. The settlement pattern today follows the road

system, most of the dwellings either on a road or within a

short walking distance of one, and the roads in most cases

follow the ridges atop the valleys that criss-cross the

watershed. A half century ago there was more settlement

along the small rivers on the better farmlands of the

valley bottoms, but today Jamaican peasants face the world.

Footpaths connect roads with other roads, houses with

fields and other houses, follow the small rivers or

sometimes disappear into the underbrush. Roads, footpaths,

and rum shops physically connect peasant households with

one another and with the information, goods and services

disseminating from Spaldings and Christiana and attaching

peasant households to the outside world, usually through

patron-broker-client relationships (Blustain, 1982a). From

Thursday evenings to Saturday afternoons this

interdependence of world, town and countryside is

particularly evident: trucks, taxis, minibuses and buses

bring the higglers and owners of rural rum shops into the

commercial centers to sell their produce and buy stock for

their shops. Marketing women descend from these means of

transport laden with burlap and plastic bags of Jamaica's

agricultural produce and an array of domestic and imported

clothing and other petty commodities. The owners of the

rural rum shops load their wholesale wares onto buses and

taxis. Through Christiana and Spaldings, goods from all

over the country and the world filter out into the

surrounding countryside.

Houses, Yards, and People

The peasants' households in the watershed accommodate

and average of six to eight people. Quite often, male

household heads also have one or two children from previous

unions whom they still support. Intergenerationally, this

phenomenon of "outside children" increases the number of

consanguineally related households between which money,

goods, services, and information flow. This biological,

social, and economic overlapping of peasant households is a

salient characteristic of Caribbean peasantries (Gonzalez,

1970; Clarke, 1957; Beckwith, 1929; Mintz, 1974) and is

common as well among peoples living in both rural and urban

impoverished conditions (Stack, 1970; 0. Lewis, 1966).

These diffuse kinship networks are adaptive in an

environment where households must combine a variety of

survival strategies as well as provide social security and

other services not provided by the state. At the same

time, such diffuse ties of family within and between

generations often undermine the foundations of capital

accumulation among Jamaican peasants because, quite simply,

too many individuals have some familial claim on whatever

resources funnel into the family network.

These ties between households are not highly visible,

however. The most readily observable family unit consists

of a woman, a man, the children they have had together and

the children the woman has had by other men. Variations on

this general pattern are frequent: it is not uncommon to

find an unmarried daughter with one or two children still

living at home, or a parent of the male or female household

head, or two conjugal or quasi-conjugal unions representing

parent and offspring generations living together with some

of the elder couple's children and most of the younger

couple's children.

Whatever the specific arrangement, the general

evolution of houses and yards which accommodate these

family units, as an ideal, varies little. Establishing a

new household, a young couple will either rent a place or

build a small, single room dwelling, usually of scrap wood,

corregated zinc, cut and straightened sides of cans,

bamboo, thatch and whatever other construction materials

they can obtain. If enough construction materials are

available, they will also build a separate structure which

serves as a kitchen. Around these structures the yard

consists of stamped and swept dirt reaching to the edge of

the family garden. These house-and-garden plots are

generally between one-quarter and one-half acre in size.

If all goes well, the house will expand as the family

expands, more elaborate and expensive construction

materials such as cement blocks, cement, reinforcement

rods, sheets of zinc, two-by-fours, jalousie windows, doors

and locks will accumulate and gradually coalesce into a

newer, larger, stronger structure as the cash to hire

masons and carpenters becomes available. Rooms will be

added on at a variable rate depending on income. During

this progression from wood to concrete the former single

room dwelling space will become the kitchen and the former

kitchen will become firewood. As for furnishings, the bed

and cooking ware come first, then a dresser, china cabinet,

tables and chairs and, for the more affluent, light

fixtures, sinks, appliances.

This general evolution is, of course, an ideal. The

actual wealth differences as expressed by house type and

elaborateness of housing vary greatly within the peasant

population of the watershed. Few peasant households have

indoor plumbing. A few more, but still a minority, have

electricity. Telephones are virtually nonexistent among the

peasantry. Refrigerators are rare and stoves rarer. Most

of the cooking is still done over open fires within the

wooden kitchens separate from the sleeping quarters. The

insides of these structures are blackened and freckled with

ash, smoke filled. Firewood and dried yams are shoved up

into one corner in a pile. Along the walls from wooden

pegs hammered into pine beams hang pots and pans, if there

are any. A machete and a mortar and pestle are standard

equipment. Alongside these huts, old rusty oil drums catch

the rain for the family's drinking water.

During the day these kitchens tend to be the centers

of activity for those staying home from the fields. Women

and children gather in and around them, soaking and

squeezing the poison from bitter casava, spreading red peas

or coffee beans on sheets of zinc or strips of cloth or

cardboard in the sun, shelling peas, scraping green

bananas, roasting yellow yam, sorting seed potatoes,

skinning ginger root and piling up the shavings which

crinkle in the dense tropical sunlight. From these

activities mild and pleasant odors of ginger and pepper and

coffee emerge and drift out into the fields where they mix

with other fires' odors and the less appealing smells of

manure and beasts.

If there is a single characteristic which accurately

describes the majority of the houses and yards among the

watershed's peasants, it is that they are not yet finished.

The unfulfilled ideal of a fully furnished home which can

comfortably accommodate the entire family is in evidence

everywhere: piles of construction materials with weeds

beginning to grow up around them, skeleton rooms without

windows or doors or ceilings, bare rooms, families of eight

crowded into a single wooden windowless structure with a

thatch roof. The building and furnishing of a house among

the Jamaican peasantry is a number one priority in the

dreams of independence, yet it can easily become a life

long process of sporadic construction followed by years of

such acute poverty that further construction remains

hopeless. Although the squalid, hungry and barren living

conditions described by some scholars familiar with the

Third World's poor (e.g. Heilbroner, 1963) are rarely found

among the Jamaican peasantry, Jamaica's wealthy are the

people whom they compare themselves to, as well as those

closer to their standards of living but wealthier. To tell

them there are people starving in Ethiopia does little to

diminish their relative despair.

But they are not a continually despairing people.

They long for improvement, attempt to improve their

standards of living, but they do not sit around crying

about their poverty. Throughout their four centuries

of hardship, they have cultivated a knack for resiliency.

They may be dissatisfied with life and accept their

poverty, fatalists to some degree, occasionally ashamed of

their positions as other peasants around them improve, but

they are not terribly unhappy, not totally bereft of

satisfaction and feelings of pride and accomplishment. At

dusk their rum shops fill with people playing dominoes,

shooting craps, dancing, listening to music, singing,

drinking and smoking what they believe to be the highest

quality ganja in the Western Hemisphere. At the same time

they can be a dignified, proud, friendly, courteous and

deeply religious people, capable of much generosity in

spite of their poverty.

Yet all societies are fraught with contradictions,

within as well as between socioeconomic classes and groups,

and Jamaica is no exception. To say that Jamaican peasants

or peasants anywhere are essentially cooperative or

essentially autonomous, rugged individuals finds no basis

in reality. Thus, these women and men trade labor and

tools with one another, give and receive food, sex, land,

and mutual aid, and simultaneously gossip maliciously about

one another, envy and mistrust each other, occasionally

cheat and steal from one another. For both cooperation and

antagonism there are historical foundations. Sexual

antagonism runs high. Child abandonment is not uncommon.

Verbal aggression is widespread but physical aggression

extremely rare.

Phenotypically ranging from deep, deep black to the

lighter shades characterizing the island's mulatto elite,

these peasants are visually quite sensitive to this

continuum of skin color. They routinely invoke their

richness of melanin as a means to explain their relative

poverty within Jamaican society. Many believe they are

poor because racist attitudes of the white society have

functioned to keep them down. A good deal of the

literature on social stratification and pluralism in

Jamaica has served to reinforce such explanations (M.G.

Smith, 1960; Henriques, 1953; Curtin, 1955; Beckford and

Witter, 1981). Most of the peasants in the watershed do in

fact fall at the melanin-rich end of the continuum. There

is no doubt that Jamaica is a highly racist society in

which shades of skin acquire significance in social

interaction and account for some social divisions, as well

as for the attitudes of salf-hatred and mistrust which

quite often surface in conversation. In a rum shop a

Jamaican once laid his arm on the bar next to mine and,

pointing to my arm, said, "This is good." Pointing to his

own arm he said, "This is bad. You give twenty dollar to

this color and you have to fight the man to get it back .

." A little girl told my wife she wanted to go to Canada

so she could bleach out and come back and get a job in a

bank. Another black man told me that he knows when he

deals with blacks, something will go wrong, but whenever he

deals with whites he knows everything will be cool.

Nevertheless, many among the wealthiest families are

as rich in melanin as they are in capital gains. The

ethnic and racial pyramids which recent scholars continue

to draw to depict Jamaican society are no longer nearly as

fine and distinct as their diagrams would lead us to

believe (e.g. Beckford and Witter, 1981: 79). Of all the

barriers to capital accumulation or successful economic

management, skin color is not one of them.

General Characteristics of Peasant Agriculture in The

The land which the watershed peasants farm is usually

rocky and steep. A broad deep valley, the Yankee Valley,

runs from the northwest corner of the watershed, beginning

in Trelawney, to the eastern boundary near Alston in the

parish of Clarendon. Numerous smaller valleys run

perpendicular to this and, as in so many other peasant

areas of the world, encompass a wide variety of ecozones

and soil types in a relatively short distance. People far

more knowledgeable about these ecological phenomena than I

have described the area as follows:

Topography: Rolling ridges with long steep or moderately
steep slopes. Soils: Halifax Donnington and Wait-A-Bit
clays, are derived from conglomerates, tuffs and shales.
These soils are extremely erodible and low in nutrients,
but they are easily cultivated. The soils are generally
very badly eroded, but the harm is reduced by the rapid
breakdown of the soil. Climate: generally cool and moist
by tropical standards. Average annual rainfall is about
70"; December to March (inclusive) is usually dry; during
the rest of the year there is normally sufficient rain for
crop growth. Winter night temperatures are quite low and
control growth. Altitude: 2000'-3000'. (Edwards, 1961: 51)

The variety of ecozones allows peasants in the watershed to

grow a wide variety of crops and affects to some extent,

along with socioeconomic factors, patterns of land use and

forms of land tenure. Root crops such as yams, coco and

dasheen are grown on virtually all of the farms. There are

a number of variety of yam and for many households they are

the most important crop. Other crops include banana,

coffee, Irish potato, red peas, plantain, bread fruit,

sorrel, sweet potato, chocolate, ginger, corn, carrot,

lettuce, cabbage, tomato, peanuts, chocho, cassava,

pumpkin, avocado pears, jack fruit, oranges, sour sop, pine

trees and marijuana (ganja). Monocropping does not fit

well with production strategies geared toward providing

subsistence for the family as well as growing crops for

sale. All fields are intercropped to some extent. Coffee

and bananas are nearly always planted together. Other

common crop combinations are Irish potato and red peas

during the late winter and spring months and red peas and

corn during the summer months, yellow yams and coco

throughout the year. It is highly typical, however, for a

single field to contain as many as a dozen different crop

varieties. From one informant's field I recorded the

following: lucea yam, yellow yam, barbados yam, negro yam,

red peas and Irish potatoes, carrots sown between the yam

hills, bananas, coffee, coco and dasheen along the drainage

ditches, sugar cane along another edge of the field,

patches here and there of sweet potato, cabbage, tomatoes

and lettuce, a few chocolate trees, a bread fruit tree,

cassava and ganja interspersed throughout the field.

Family gardens are always heavily intercropped; fields

planted primarily in cash crops usually are as well.

Among the crops grown primarily for sale are Irish

potatoes, red peas, banana, coffee, carrot, lettuce,

cabbage, tomato, chocolate and peanuts. Marijuana and yams

are produced for home use and for sale, depending on the

market, and the others listed above tend to be grown

primarily for home use. Which crops are grown for sale

primarily and which for home use varies from parish to

parish, however, and these generalizations concerning cash

crops and subsistence crops apply to the Two Meetings

Watershed. With the exception of donkeys and mules, most

livestock in the area are raised for the market, pigs, cows

and goats being the most common. These double as savings

accounts in Jamaica as elsewhere among peasants (Firth,

1963; Wolf, 1966). Donkeys and mules are valuable tools on

the farm and tend to be used as such rather than bought for


In terms of the factors within the Two Meetings

socioeconomic environment which influence agricultural

production decisions and behaviors, access to land and land

tenure is not nearly so determining a factor as are

household cash flows, credit, labor, and markets. There

are a few families in the area who own a great deal of land

in the watershed but who are not among the peasantry.

These families constitute a kind of old landed gentry who

have since fallen from the grace of world economics and

politics. Much of the land which they used to work has

been taken over by the peasants. The peasants recognize

that the land is owned by others, some claim to pay rent on

the land, but no rents have been collected for a number of

years on this land and the peasants are more or less free

to work it without threat of eviction. They also tend not

to make any improvements on land gained by these means,

however (cf. Blustain, 1982b). In addition to "capturing"

land, other means of gaining access to land include

inheritance (family land), buying land, leasing government

land, renting land (primarily from other peasants),

clearing land and working it for a few years rent-free in

return for clearing it, working the land of relatives who

have moved from the watershed, and in some cases simply

being given land by another peasant. Sharecropping,

although used in some cases among extremely poor peasants,

is uncommon, as is service tenure. At any rate, a peasant

household in the watershed with enough family labor or

enough cash to hire labor can usually find one means or

another to gain access to land. Land quality does directly

affect, along with market fluctuations, the scheduling of

planting and the choice of crops. If a peasant can get

access to land which holds water well, for example, he or

she is more likely to plant an earlier crop of Irish

potatoes than another peasant who cannot gain access to

such land.

Farms in the watershed are highly fragmented, with

peasants producing on anywhere from one to six or seven

parcels. Total farm sizes are around three to five acres,

two to three of which are cultivated and the remainder

lying fallow. The most typical tenurial arrangement in the

watershed is to own around one-quarter acre to one-half

acre which serves as the house plot and the family garden,

and to own or rent other parcels at varying distances from

the house, sometimes as far as four miles across some

pretty rugged country. This has been the pattern among

Jamaican peasants all over the island at least since the

turn of the century (cf. Beckwith, 1929; Eisner, 1961;

Clarke, 1957; Edwards, 1961). Having fragmented

landholdings sometimes results in crop loss due to theft

and an increase in demands on the household's time, but

also allows peasants access to a variety of land qualities

and hence a wider variety of cropping and scheduling


To work land productively the peasants must first have

some cash. Peasant households in the Two Meetings

Watershed are chronically short of cash. Sources of credit

include the IRDP (now defunct), the People's Loan Bank and

other area banks, relatives, friends and, very

occasionally, visiting Peace Corps volunteers and

anthropologists. The banks, as is normal practice, have

interest rates which are considered too high by the

peasantry. Loans from banks are more often sought for

capital purchases, such as buying a mule or land, than to

cover the costs of planting. Long-term credit or revolving

credit systems such as those utilized by farmers in the

U.S. (Hansen, et al., 1981), if they exist in rural

Jamaica, are not available to the peasantry. Loans from

the IRDP are (or were) used with more frequency but these

are often rejected because such loans often require

peasants to adopt production strategies with which they do

not agree. This disagreement comes less from a love of

tradition than from a detailed scrutiny and knowledge of

the ecosystem and socioeconomic environment. As a result,

most peasant households in the watershed cover their

planting expenses with cash generated by previous

harvests, as well as by using cash-saving strategies such

as cooperative labor.

Peasants in the watershed, like most peasants, use

almost no heavy machinery. The IRDP used to sometimes

terrace fields for them or clear land with tractors, and a

very few peasants have hired tractor rigs on their own (I

found only one case of this), but the use of heavy

machinery is extremely rare. Nor are draught animals used

to plow land, although mules and donkeys are used to

transport produce from the fields to the roads or into

market. This leaves human energy for the farm work, and

labor is the most costly -- in terms of both money and time

-- of all the productive resources available to the peasant

farmer. Hiring labor is the preferred labor arrangement

among the watershed's peasants, but because household cash

flows are small most peasants in the watershed combine the

use of family labor and exchange labor (day-for-day) with

hired labor. Cooperative work bees, or "morning sport,"

are not common in the watershed, although are used in other

parts of the country (Edwards, 1961). Even with these

cooperative labor arrangements, however, there is some

expense involved: the peasant who needs the workers must

provide them with food during the day and often with rum

and ganja as well, whether they are exchange labor or

hired. At noon in the fields, over open fires, green

bananas, dumplings, yams and chicken backs seasoned with

pepper boil in huge pots. Drinks using chocolate or ginger

root or sarsaparilla root are usually provided for the

laborers as well, sweetened with Eagle Brand sweetened

condensed milk.

The specific combination of labor arrangements varies

from farm to farm according to farm size, household size

and composition, crop types, market fluctuations, cash

generated from off-farm sources and seasonal schedules.

Some larger farms have high labor requirements throughout

the year. However, the peak seasons for labor in the

watershed tend to be from January to late April, when the

rains begin, and again in September, November and early

December, scheduling activities around the heavy October

rains. During the summer months the crop labor

requirements are somewhat reduced and it is typically

during these months that the peasants seek off-farm

employment as well as devote time to house construction,

repair and so on. The tasks which require the most labor

inputs are clearing land, terracing, planting and

harvesting, but processing food for market and marketing

also take up a good portion of the time of some peasant

households, especially when cash crops are being grown on a

wide scale. Weeding and other general crop care are done

throughout the year but can usually be handled with family

labor or exchange labor alone. Livestock and tree-crops

are low-labor enterprises. There are, of course, a wide

variety of other farm and non-farm tasks which draw upon

the peasant's time (hauling water and firewood, cutting yam

sticks, child care, maintenance) and, although labor

requirements are seasonal, these people are rarely idle

(cf. Brush, 1977). Although there are some flexible ideas

about division of labor on the basis of sex, in actual

behavior women and men perform many of the same tasks and

women are equally as skilled at farm management as men.

The importance of these labor arrangements and labor

requirements as they are affected by participation in the

alien labor program will be discussed in more depth later.

The principal marketing options in the area include

the Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC), the

Christiana Area Potato Growers' Cooperative, a few banana

boxing plants and ginger merchants, peasants carrying their

own goods to peasant markets and, the most commonly used

option, higglers. Higglers, usually women, are

professional itinerant buyers and sellers of produce who

come from peasant backgrounds and take advantage of

regional variations in crop types, generally buying produce

from peasants whom they are familiar with and bussing this

produce to peasant markets in other parishes for sale (cf.

Mintz, 1957; Katzin, 1959, 1971). Higglering, however, is

an occupation open to nearly anyone and for many peasants

throughout Jamaica it is a valuable and time-honored means

of supplementing farm income, as well as occasionally a

means to accumulate capital for agricultural and

non-agricultural investments. It is a highly competitive

and efficient means of getting perishable produce from

producer to consumer, but it is not without its problems.

Perhaps one of the most blatant contradictions between the

rhetoric of the Seaga regime and their actual behavior is

that they have recently initiated legislation aimed at

"savaging the higgler" (Stone, 1983), or curtailing the

previous free enterprise of higglers through complex

licensing requirements and taxes (Daily Gleaner, February

7, 1983: front page). Under Manley, supposedly an engineer

of "a disastrous decade of socialism" (Hempstone, 1982),

the freedom allowed the higglers to move the country's

produce around as well as to import goods was far greater.

With the higglers in the watershed the peasants

maintain a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, the

higglers often constitute the sole marketing outlet for the

peasants' produce. Also, unlike most of the other

marketing options, the higglers are numerous enough that

competition between higglers assures the peasant the

highest possible price for the produce. When the higglers

pay for the peasants' produce outright and bear the cost of

any loss due to spoilage themselves, there are usually no

problems between peasant and higgler. However, more often

the higgler does not have the cash up front to pay for the

crop and so the peasant must give the crop to the higgler

and wait until after the sale to receive his or her money.

This places a peasant producer in a position dependent upon

the honesty of the higgler. These higglers are usually

personal acquaintances of the peasants, people from within

the same district or same general area. To maintain this

delayed payment relationship, the higgler must return from

the market with some remuneration for the peasant on a more

or less regular basis. Nevertheless the higgler can return

with less money than the peasant bargained for and blame

the discrepancy on spoilage. The higglers do not have to

return proof that the crop actually spoiled. The peasant

producers thus must take the word of the higgler that their

products or portions of their products did not sell.

Jamaican peasants, as envious and suspicious of their

fellow peasants as peasants elsewhere (Foster, 1969; 0.

Lewis, 1951; Migdal, 1974; Popkin, 1979), have a low

threshold of faith in their peasant brethren. They do not

enjoy being put in a position where their income depends on

the honesty of another. George Foster's "Image of the

Limited Good" (1969) is perhaps the best known description

of these characteristics of mistrust and envy among

peasants, although it has since been criticized as somewhat

of a misinterpretation. That is, Foster saw the envy and

mistrust among peasants as being an expression of cognitive

orientation or belief that the goods of the world are

limited. Thus one person's gain is another person's loss.

Others understand this envy and mistrust as expressions not

of some natural cognitive orientation but rather

expressions of a recognition that the goods of the world

are, in actual fact and not in "image," limited. That is,

Jamaican peasants understand that they have historically

been denied access to land and other resources which place

them in direct economic competition with one another. When

one Jamaican peasant receives a job card it is quite clear

that another Jamaican peasant loses out. In terms of their

relationships with higglers, then, Jamaican peasants often

have to place themselves in these socially uncomfortable

positions. But this is nothing new to people for whom

hardship has been, for centuries, a way of life. Richard

Barnet reminds us: "If there is one observation about the

contemporary world which unites Marxists and non-Marxists,

it is that peasants are the world's most exploited peoples"

(1981: 103).


The above discussion constitutes a general description

of peasant life and peasant agriculture in the Two Meetings

Watershed. The physical, social, and economic conditions

described are common to the entire peasant population of

the watershed. They represent the environment from which

migrants to the U.S. are drawn for the BWI Temporary Alien


Labor Program and to which these migrants return. The

following chapter presents the results of the comparisons

between a randomly selected population of participants in

the BWI program and a randomly selected population of

peasants who have not had equivalent migration experiences.

Both populations were selected from the environment

described above.


Of the five sending countries, Jamaica supplies around

80% of the foreign labor which fuels the South Florida

sugar cane harvest and 100% of the foreign labor utilized

in the Northeast apple harvest. According to the Jamaican

Ministry of Labour and Employment's most recent estimate,

between six and seven thousand Jamaican men annually work

in the apple and sugar harvest (Jamaican Department of

Statistics, 1982a: 25). Data from three sample populations

indicate that the mean annual net earnings per man are a

little over US$3000.

Table 4-1
Mean Annual Net Earnings From Farm Work, Three Sample

Population Mean net earnings

South Florida
sample of 206 US$3141

U.S. Northeast and
South Florida
sample of 21 US$3418

Jamaican sample
of 45 US$3149

By a conservative estimate of US$3000/season/man, the

total Jamaican farm worker population annually nets around

twenty million US dollars. Twenty-three percent of this

amount is sent back to the island under a compulsory

savings program, generating between four and five million

dollars in foreign exchange for the Government of Jamaica

annually. This is as much as between 11% and 14% of the

estimated US$35,000,000 generated annually by the Jamaican

tourist industry and as much as between 4% and 5% of the

estimated US$92,000,000 generated by the bauxite industry

(Jamaican Department of Statistics, 1982a: 190).

While the benefit of the program as a foreign exchange

earner on national level Jamaican society and economy is

obvious, it is not readily apparent how the program affects

the Jamaican peasantry on the individual, household, local,

regional or national levels. We do know, however, that the

combined net earnings of the farm workers who travel to the

U.S. equals nearly one quarter (24%) of the gross domestic

product earned by the entire Jamaican peasantry (Jamaican

Department of Statistics, 1982a: 188). We also know that

the incomes of the individual farm workers are

substantially higher that the incomes generated by most

Jamaican peasant farms. Exactly how much higher is

difficult to determine, however. Although the 1980 per

capital income in Jamaica was US$1040 (The World Bank,

1982), information on the Jamaican peasantry as opposed to

the entire Jamaican population suggests that the annual

earnings of Jamaican peasant households fall far below this

per capital income figure and much further below the net

incomes of farm workers. The most comprehensive study of

Jamaican farmers, conducted by D.H. Edwards in the late

1950s, reported an average annual net farm income of just

under US$25 (Edwards, 1961: 184). More recent studies by

USAID personnel estimate that "80 percent of farm families

earn per capital incomes of less than US$200 per year"

(Goldsmith and Blustain, 1980: 3). Although income

information, especially that relying on verbal responses,

is among the most difficult to verify, it is nevertheless

clear that the farm workers' incomes are at least three

times as much as most peasant farms. It is therefore

conceivable that their farms might well benefit by this

income and give their households a distinct agricultural

production advantage over peasants who have not had similar

employment experiences.

From the setting described in the previous chapter I

drew random samples to compare migrant farm workers'

households with other peasant households who had not had

similar migration experiences (the control population).

Throughout this work the term farm workers refers to

participants in the BWI Temporary Alien Labor Program,

which is the term the Jamaicans use to describe these

migrants. The term control peasants refers to the

population of peasants who have not participated in the

program nor have had equivalent migration experiences. The

comparisons between the two populations were designed to

address the following questions: Were the farm workers

operating more productive farms than the control peasant

population? Did the farm workers have a higher incidence

of investment for farm expansion that the control

population? Were the farm workers producing

proportionately more cash crops than the control

population? Finally, were these differences between the

two populations caused by participation in the alien labor

program? These questions attempt to get at a larger

question: Does international labor migration between lesser

developed and developed countries cause or enhance

development in the lesser developed country?

Results of the Comparisons

To begin answering these questions it is best to focus

on specific examples of agricultural production and

investment in the Two Meetings Watershed. The area's most

lucrative legal cash crop is Irish potato, produced on 61%

of the farms. I mentioned above that most peasant

households in the watershed control between three and five

acres of land but usually cultivate only two to three of

those acres. Also, land is available by means of a variety

of arrangements and in most cases only additional cash and

labor inputs are required to expand production by bringing

more land under cultivation. Since labor for hire is

plentiful in rural Jamaica, coming up with the cash is the

constraint on expanding agricultural production. The total

cost of hired labor, seed, fertilizers, pesticides and

transportation necessary to plant, care for and reap a

single acre (14 CWT) of Irish potatoes amounts to J$1560

(US$880)(n) (see appendix A). By 1982/83 wage and piece

rates, a farm worker in the U.S. can easily earn this

amount in four to six weeks. With a yield of five to one,

remaining 14 CWT of seed for the following crop and

marketing the remaining 5600 lbs. at J$35/CWT, this acre of

Irish potatoes would gross J$1960, or a net profit of

J$400. This amounts to a 25% return per acre on the

original investment over a period of three to four months.

In the watershed it is possible to plant three crops of

Irish potato per year.

On the surface this appears to be a sound investment.

In practice, some of the labor necessary to plant, care

for, and harvest the crop will be drawn from the family at

no cost and probably some of the labor will be exchanged,

thus bringing the overhead costs down substantially and

increasing the profit margin. It is therefore quite

possible that returns per acre will be higher than 25%. In

spite of the apparently sound economics of expanding Irish

potato production, the households of the farm workers who

work in the U.S. do not invest in Irish potato production

on a broader scale than control peasant households. Table

I shows that, in fact, the reverse is the case.

Table 4-2
Comparisons Between Farm Worker and Control Peasant
Households For Irish Potato Production

Farm Worker Control

potatoes 69 57

CWTs planted
per household
per year 5.2 10.6
Average pounds
of potatoes sold
to potato
cooperative annually
(1967 1981) 1490 1835

Average shares
held in potato
cooperative 9.88 13.48

(T-test, one tailed)

What does this tell us about the impact of the alien

labor program on Irish potato production in the Two

Meetings watershed? First, in terms of this admittedly

restricted example, the prediction that return migrants

will invest in their home economies is not confirmed.

Indeed, it appears that participation in the program has



had a negative impact on Irish potato production in the

watershed. Nevertheless we cannot readily jump to the

conclusion that these production differences between farm

workers' peasant households and the control peasant

households are caused directly by participation in the

alien labor program. Even though the two populations were

randomly selected and are representative of the Two

Meetings peasant household population, there may be

alternate explanations as to why the farm workers'

households produce and sell fewer CWTs of Irish potato than

peasant households which do not have access to these U.S.

funds. However, as the following tables show, comparisons

between the two populations in terms of variables which

might suggest sampling biases which could account for

agricultural production differences reveal no significant


Table 4-3
Size and Composition of Households
Variables Farm Worker Control
Average age
of male
household head 38 42

Average age
of female
household head 31 36

Average size
of household 7.3 6.8

Table 4-3 -- continued

Average number
of males

Average number
of females

Average number
of adults
(15 + years)

Average number
of children
(0-14 years)

Average number
of people aged:



























Table 4-4
Ratio of Consumers to Workers Per Household

Farm Worker Control




Note: workers are all able bodied people over the age of 11
who contribute to agricultural production.

Table 4-5
Relationships With Other Peasant Households Through Outside

Farm Workers Control

Average number
of outside
children of
male household
head 1.2 .8

Percent of males
with outside
children who are
responsible for
outside children 93.7 94.4

Mode number
of households
related to by
outside children 1 1

Moreover, careful reconstruction of the histories of

farm workers' households demonstrate that in most cases the

initial years of participation in the program coincide with

decreases in potato production and sales. In cases where

there was a break in travel to the U.S. of a year or two,

the farm workers' households' Irish potato production

increased during the years he spent in Jamaica, only to

decrease again once he resumed travel to the United States.

Irish potato increases subsequent to travel, however, do

not usually represent substantial increases from the years

prior to participation, but instead a resumption of

previous production levels.


The most obvious explanation for decreases in Irish

potato production during the years the farm workers are

abroad is that their absence from Jamaica for a substantial

portion of the year prevents them from taking advantage of

this investment opportunity. This explanation however

ignores the fact that peasant farming, in Jamaica and

elsewhere, is a household rather than an individual

economic activity. That is, women in the Jamaican

countryside are as capable and as willing as men to

engineer the land preparation, planting, weeding and so on

associated with Irish potato production. The following

tables show that women are in most cases responsible for

the farm while the farm workers are abroad and that they

tend to use remittances to hire farm labor.

Table 4-6
Principal Manager of Farm During Farm Worker's absence

Relationship Percent of population
to farm worker

Wife/girlfriend 74.3
Brother 8.6
Father/father-in-law 5.7
Son 2.9
Other relative 2.9
Friend 2.9
Hired hand 2.9

Table 4-7
Percent of Population who Use Remittances to Hire Farm
Labor (n=45)

Hire 73.5

Do not hire 26.5

There are constraints upon a woman's time which arise

at particular stages in her life cycle, during which hild

care demands much of her attention. In Jamaica however two

factors undermine explanation of decreased agricultural

production: first, the salient phenomenon of overlapping

households means that cost-free child care services are in

abundant supply; second, as the above table shows, there is

a tendency for the wives and girlfriends of the farm

workers to use remitted U.S. earnings to hire laborers to

work on the farm, thus boosting these women to managerial

positions in the fields and allowing them time and free

breasts to feed and arms to care for the children while

monitoring the laborers' activities. Also, male household

members or male friends and relatives of the farm workers

often help the women in these endeavors in cases where

sexual antagonism undermines the woman's control over male

farm labor. We cannot, therefore, attribute these lower

production levels to the absence of the men.

This negative impact of the program is not typical,

however. More often, comparisons between the farm workers'


households and the control peasants households reveal that

the impact of the program as a whole on Jamaican

agriculture is neutral. That is, as the following tables

show, few significant differences emerge from comparing the

two populations on the basis of a wide variety of

agricultural variables.

First, in terms of land utilization, land tenure and

land fragmentation, the only differences that emerge are

the the farm workers' households utilize a greater

proportion of their land than the other households, and

that the proportions of rented land and owned land are

nearly reversed between the two populations. (Probability

levels refer, again, to one tailed Student's T-tests.)

Table 4-8
Land Utilization, Land Tenure, and Land Fragmentation

Variables Farm Workers Control

Average amount
of land rented
and owned (acres) 3.05 3.76

Average amount
of land cultivated
(acres) 2.26 2.64

Percentage of
land lying
fallow 17.5 29.5

Average number
of parcels
cultivated 2.3 2.3

Table 4-8 -- continued

Average percent
of land owned 37 58

Average percent
of land rented 53 35

Terms of tenure (%)

rent and own 34.1 17.3
own all 2.4 6.2
rent all 34.1 23.5
captured land 2.4 3.7
relative's land 7.3 17.3
relative's land
and rent and own 12.2 28.4
other 7.3 3.7

These differences between the two populations,

however, do not result in different amounts of land

actually cultivated. Nor do they result in radically

different production strategies. That is, the following

tables show that for the production of crops for market and

livestock holdings there exist, again, few differences

between the two populations.

Table 4-9
Crops Production for Market

Variables Farm Workers Control

Average number
of hills of yam 726 521

Average number
of square chains
of coffee 8.8 16.9

Percent planting
red peas 73 58

Table 4-9 -- continued

Average number of
quarts of red peas
planted per year

Percent planting

Average number of
squares of banana




Percent planting:

ginger 32.5 31.7
corn 14 13.6
casava 4.7 6.1
sweet potato 4.8 8.6
lettuce/cabbage 9.3 7.3
carrots 4.7 2.4

Table 4-10
Livestock Holdings Per Household

Varieties Farm Workers Control

Average number
of cows .7 .9

Average number
of pigs .6 .7

Average number
of goats .6 .6

Average number
of donkeys/mules .3 .2

Finally, in terms of farm management, the following

tables again attest to the striking similarity between the

two populations. Differences do emerge, especially in

terms of labor hiring practices, and these will be

discussed in a subsequent chapter. However, here it is