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close this bookFood from Dryland Gardens - An Ecological, Nutritional, and Social Approach to Small Scale Household Food Production (CPFE, 1991)
close this folderPart I - Gardens as a development strategy
close this folder3. Gardens, economics, and marketing
close this folder3.4 Marketing garden produce
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.4.1 Women and Marketing
View the document3.4.2 Risk, Investment, and Return
View the document3.4.3 Cooperation
View the document3.4.4 Garden Income and the Household


Trade between different areas of the world has gone on for much of human history, for example, in the drylands of the Middle East and the Saharan-Sahel region of Africa. This trade involved exchange of a good produced in one area that was not produced in another. Markets today offer many goods that cannot be produced locally, such as salt, radios, batteries, or some medicines. In some cases the same goods are both produced locally and imported, like fruits and vegetables, snack foods, tools, clothing, and shoes. When locally produced goods are sold at small, local markets the producer and consumer share the same resource base and similar living conditions, and their exchange remains in the community. Buying an import that sells for less than a local product makes sense in the short run for the individual or household, but can have negative consequences for the community. As in any situation where there is no local control over decisions that have local effects, difficulties may arise. Most money spent on imports leaves the community, except for a small portion if a local middle person is involved. The effect is frequently felt most by the poor because it is often their production activities that are displaced.

The vulnerability of communities that are less and less involved in production for their own markets is evident not only in the Third World but also in industrialized countries. In the United States, for example, textile workers and others are losing jobs to factories in the Third World where production costs are much cheaper. These factories keep their costs low by paying their workers very low wages; these workers must also endure extremely poor living and working conditions.