Fair trade banana production in the Windward Islands: local survival and global resistance [Book Review]

Agriculture and Human Values 27 (4):475-487 (2010)
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Fair trade banana farming in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean has emerged since the late 1990s in response to a crisis. Rulings by the World Trade Organization ended a longstanding trade dispute between the US and the EU by eliminating a system of preferential access of Windward Island bananas to the UK market. What followed was a period of rapid decline in banana exports from these small islands and a widespread abandonment of banana cultivation. Those banana farmers who remain are now primarily fair trade producers. Fair trade banana production in the Windward Islands can thus be conceived as a survival strategy that farmers have developed in response to a particular instance of neoliberal globalization. The paper considers this response especially in the context of recent fieldwork on the island of St. Vincent. In light of contributions by several scholars who have drawn upon the work of Polanyi to understand both fair trade and resistance to neoliberalism, fair trade banana production in the Windward Islands appears significant not only as a local survival strategy, but also as part of a larger countermovement that resists neoliberal globalization



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