In many respects it is Jamaican women who play a pivotal role in small-scale farming, particularly in marketing farm produce. More highly educated than men, and gender-wise, women farmers are highly self-reliant; however, their socio-economic strength is not fully capitalized through cooperative endeavors to foster productivity on their farms. This research examines women’s cooperatives and the operations of women farmers in two remote rural communities using focus group discussion and targeted on-site investigation approaches. We find that over the years, small farming cooperatives are unsustainable because of their land-tenure problem, and lack of decision-making power at the grassroots level. The research suggests that the potential of women farmers in rural Jamaica has not been well utilized to foster their farming cooperatives. Crucially needed is the promotion of grassroots-based farming groupings to ensure the durability of cooperatives, as well as a multi-sector approach in agriculture, and the intensification of appropriate technological applications in all stages of farming, coupled with micro-food processing. Furthermore, a conducive environment for agricultural production and economic return requires land reform, increasing marketing opportunities, and cooperatives based on the diversification of agricultural and non-agricultural activities.
Ishemo, Amani and Bushell, Brenda
Farming Cooperatives: Opportunities and Challenges for Women Farmers in Jamaica.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 18(4), 13-29.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol18/iss4/2