Sunday, June 27, 2010

Efficient farming and Jamaican tomatoes

Listen to the NPR story, "Jamaica's tomato mystery," here. An excerpt about limitations on small farmers' ability to expand their operations follows:
Ms. ROSE MARY GARCIA (Nathan Associates): Typically, it is the lack of ability to get loans from the banking system.

BLUMBERG: This is Rose Mary Garcia, with the economic consulting firm Nathan Associates. She says you see farmers like Gabby a lot in the developing world. They know exactly what they need to buy to be more productive, but they can't get the money, often for a pretty simple reason.

Ms. GARCIA: They may not have titles to their lands. If they don't have the right paperwork, then therefore they can't provide their land as collateral, and therefore, the banks are not willing to take that risk.

BLUMBERG: Garcia says this leads to the situation you have in Jamaica, where there are two types of farms: large-scale, technologically intensive farms, like the kind they have in America, and then small-scale, near-subsistence farms like Gabby's. Garcia says the goal is to improve the credit system so that you get a new kind of farm, one that's somewhere in the middle.

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