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Plantations and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century: The End of an Era?

Publisher : Agricultural Development in the World Periphery: A Global Economic History Approach

Campus : Kochi

School : School of Business

Year : 2018

Abstract : After a shameful period of forced labour and colonial exploitation, a modern plantation system emerged during the twentieth century, akin to a near-industrial form of production of tropical commodities. Chapter 4 reviews the experience of plantations over the twentieth century, mainly for bananas, oil palm, rubber, sugar cane and tea, with particular attention to the political economy of plantations versus smallholders, infringement of land rights inherent in large land concessions, and the rights and welfare of the large labour force employed. The chapter concludes that large plantations that were the norm at the beginning of that century had largely given way to smallholders by the early twenty-first century and this trend is likely to continue. Land rights of communities on the frontier remain imperfectly recognised while labour rights and conditions on plantations vary widely depending on country and commodity.

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