The use of agricultural subsidies is widespread in the Caribbean. The objectives are: to encourage adoption of improved agricultural practices for increasing agricultural production and conservation of natural resources. The subsidies are provided in the form of cash, production inputs and, more recently, as rebates on income taxes. There are many rather small cash and other incentives. Farmers do not perceive these as incentives to practice adoption but rather as snippets of assistance or dole provided by governments to farmers. This perception, plus the disproportionate amount of energy and time small farmers must exert in order to obtain these small subsidies can create in them feelings of irritation and frustration. As a result they tend to perceive these small subsidies as needed nuisances, more bane than boon. Caribbean farmers are market oriented and respond to meaningful monetary incentives. Given a choice they would prefer to have an assured market and a "reasonable" price for their farm produce or the availability at reduced prices of production of marketable produce.
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Agricultural Subsidies: a Boon or a Bane?
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