Plantation farming

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Plantation farming is a form of agriculture practised in or near tropics which originated in colonial times.

The first plantations date from the seventeenth century and existed in the southern USA, Caribbean states, Central and South America.

At first, white labour was used, but later this was replaced by black slaves, who were cheaper. Nowadays wage labourers work on the plantations and large land properties. Crops produced on the plantation are destined for markets; they use single-crop farming techniques such as cocoa, cotton or coffee, but also grow local crops such as bananas, dates, etc.

Plantations are managed like a business, whose goal is the production and marketing of goods. The workers are wage earners with fixed working hours. However, in some places workers still live in conditions similar to the era of slavery.

Single-crop farming creates problems because the product depends on international fluctuations in market prices.

We also call this kind of agriculture speculative farming. If a country depends too much on market fluctuations, this can impede its economic progression.