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According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment's
most recent estimate, the average annual number of farm
workers who went to the U.S. in this program for the
1978-1980 seasons was 8962, with a stable average annual
population of around 6229 (Jamaican Department of
Statistics, 1982a: 25). Ninety-one percent of these
individuals manage small farms. To estimate the number of
man-days of hired labor per year generated by remittances,
then, I use this simple formulas:
((A x B) xC)xD=X
Where A is one third of the stable labor force (6229/3 =
2076.3), B is the peasant portion of the labor force (91%
or .91), C is the proportion of the farm worker population
who hire labor with remittances (73.5% or .735), and D is
the mean figure for for man-days of hired labor/farm/year
(230, 73, or 19). For X, then, the low figure is 26,385.93
man-days of hired labor/year generated by remittances, the
middle figure is 101,377.52, and the high figure
319,408.63. Given the particular seasonality of farming
systems on the island, moreover, most of this labor will be
required while the farm workers are abroad. Edwards's
comprehensive study of small farming throughout Jamaica
shows that reaping and planting, the two most
labor-intensive activities of Jamaican peasant farming,