Smallholders and stockbreeders: Histories of foodcrop and livestock farming in Southeast Asia

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Historians of Southeast Asia have traditionally preferred to write about politics and culture rather than economics and ecology, and where they have looked at the history of agriculture they have most often concentrated on cash crops like sugar, coffee and rubber which figure prominently in colonial records. Smallholders and stockbreeders, by contrast, provides a rare survey of the history of foodcrop farming, and a unique look at the history of animal husbandry, in the Southeast Asian region. Thirteen contributions by an international selection of expert authors cover topics ranging from the agricultural economy of precolonial Java to the growth of rice production in the Mekong Delta since 1950, and from the breeding of horses on the northern borderlands of mainland Southeast Asia to the production and consumption of beef in the Philippines. New light is shed on old questions regarding the directions in which Southeast Asian agriculture has evolved over the centuries, and new questions raised regarding the cultural, demographic, economic and political determinants of farming practices. While the geographical and chronological scales of analysis vary, most chapters deal with relatively large areas and with developments over periods of 100 years or more. Besides production for subsistence, commercial aspects of livestock and foodcrop farming are also given due attention and prove to have been important in many parts of the region from very early periods. Smallholders and stockbreeders is essential reading for anyone interested in the agricultural history of Southeast Asia, whether for its own sake, or in connection with other aspects of regional history, or for purposes of comparison with other parts of the world.

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