This article discusses a Government of Jamaica/USAID project that was designed to encourage small hillside farmers to conserve their soil resources. Despite five years of intense activity, the project did not achieve its objectives, to a great extent because of the unproductive manner in which farmers were induced to participate in the program. Discussion of specific problem areas are clustered around four more general issues that are of importance to any natural resource management project: appropriate technology; the local social unit to be engaged; incentives offered to farmers; and sustainability. In each of these four areas, the approach adopted by the project was unsuitable for meeting the conservation objectives. Rather than being due solely to poor judgement by project planners, however, it is argued that these unproductive approaches were the predictable products of the highly centralized and clientelistic Jamaican political culture within which the project operated. The problems plaguing this project have characterized other development efforts in Jamaica, and their systemic nature raises questions about the success of future resource management programs in Jamaica.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.