Decision–making and innovation among small–scale yam farmers in central Jamaica: a dynamic, pragmatic and adaptive process

Author: Beckford, Clinton L.

Source: The Geographical Journal, Volume 168, Number 3, September 2002 , pp. 248-259(12)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Buy & download fulltext article:


Price: $48.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Many researchers in the Caribbean have protested the generally negative stereotyping of small–scale farmers and the small–scale domestic agricultural sector. The essence of this pejorative attitude is that small–scale farmers display apathy and resistance to change and are reluctant to accept innovations. A major reason for this perspective is a lack of knowledge and understanding of and sensitivity towards the factors that influence and inform farmers’ decisions. Studying the decision–making of small–scale farmers can, therefore, shed light on their activities and help inform policymaking. This paper uses the example of small–scale yam farmers in central Jamaica to explore and investigate important issues related to decision–making innovations around four questions. Can the decisions of farmers about innovations be considered to be rational? What are the major factors that influence decision outcomes? Why do so many agricultural innovations and modernization initiatives that target small–scale farmers fail? Do farmers really shun innovations that have clear and obvious benefits and, if so, why?

Keywords: Jamaica; agricultural decision–making; cold rationalism; perception; rational conservatism; small–scale farmers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2002

Related content



Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page