Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community

Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community

Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community

Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community

Excerpt

Paso, a small, formerly isolated farming community in the mountains of western Costa Rica, represents in microcosm the massive changes affecting many rural areas throughout the world. In this study, I hope to show the dynamics of rural change in Paso:

How the traditional slash-and-burn production of corn and beans has given way to the production of cattle for export to the United States and to intensive tobacco terraces that quadruple the farmers' labor costs.

How these two quite opposite changes in land use have acted both to worsen the already difficult situation of land shortage for many families and to ameliorate it for others.

How the formerly quite egalitarian frontier ethos of the community is challenged by the scarcity of land and the rising standard of living and how relations between wealthy and poor families--who are often kin--are changing.

How the community has responded to both new roads and new market forces from the outside and also to new government programs, especially agricultural credit programs. How the effects of these programs and agricultural changes both strengthen and weaken the egalitarian traditions in Paso.

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