Tourism, Local Agriculture, and Food Security in the Caribbean
Contemporary trends in the global political economy, particularly as they pertain to trade liberalization and the reshaping of global food chains, have made Caribbean states more aware of the need to reform their agricultural sectors in order to be competitive and to enhance food security. One area of concern is the weak links between the tourism industries of the CARICOM countries and their agricultural sectors, especially the small-scale food-producing sector. Local tourism is booming, while local agriculture stagnates and declines (Thomas-Hope and Jardine-Comrie, 2007; Dodman and Rhiney, 2008). This means that symbiotic relationships between the two sectors are at best weak, and in the specific context of food production and food security, the tourism industry does very little to stimulate local agriculture. This is a long-standing contradiction as evidenced by research in the 1970s and 1980s (see Momsen, 1972; Belisle, 1983, 1984). There have been some suggestions that in the past 20 years or so, the situation has improved (Momsen, 1998; Torres, 2003; Conway, 2004; Rhiney, 2009; Timms, 2006), but recent research indicates that we have a long way to go in getting local foods into hotel kitchens in a significant way (Rhiney, 2009; Ramsee-Singh, 2006: Timms. 2006).
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