By Rosemarijn Hoefte (auth.)
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Additional info for Suriname in the Long Twentieth Century: Domination, Contestation, Globalization
It used to be that two ditches of about 2 meters wide along the street would drain the water; these ditches were bordered by grass and bushes which would grow so high as to give the streets a jungle-like appearance. In 1927, the town center looked much better: shells replaced the sand, new sidewalks had been built, and recently constructed sewers replaced the ditches. Despite these improvements the living conditions of the majority of the population were poor. The poorer parts on the outskirts looked the same as in the first decade of the century.
Some new (mineral) products seemed to provide an alternative, but the optimism turned out to be short lived. In 1910, the two main products, gold and balata comprised half of the export value, but 15 years later, that picture had completely changed. Despite the changes in products, one basic pattern remained the same: whether the export products were tropical crops or raw materials, the large plantations, gold mines, and balata companies were mainly in foreign hands, thus making the colony even more dependent on decisions made outside Suriname.
Setting the Scene 37 Following this deception, the small-scale and urban agricultural sector produced mainly for the domestic market. Small-scale agriculture expanded despite government support for the larger plantations and the antagonism between large- and small-scale farming. Traditional products included (root) vegetables, corn, coconuts, and fruits. Small-scale cattle breeders and poultry farmers sold dairy products and meat. 28 In the early twentieth century, most of these smallholders supplying the urban market were Hindustanis.
Suriname in the Long Twentieth Century: Domination, Contestation, Globalization by Rosemarijn Hoefte (auth.)