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Friday, February 10, 2006
Thanks to M'lilwana Osanku...

A Brief History of Golden Grove and Nabaclis

History Today: A Brief History of Golden Grove and Nabaclis (Part Two) by Letroy Cummings.
This article will examine the economy of Golden Grove and Nabaclis, focusing on the emergence of cottage industries and assessing their contribution to village life.

Apart from being residential areas, both Golden Grove and Nabaclis emerged as agricultural communities, with farming being the primary economic activity. Farm lands at the back of the residential lots are of crucial importance to the sustenance of life for village people. The early residents looked to the back dam as a constant and reliable source of food production, where produce such as mangoes, coconuts, bananas, breadfruit, plantains, cassava, and other commodities were cultivated. The abundance of vegetables and ground provisions made the farmlands the food basket of the villages.

The produce from the back dam led to the emergence of cottage industries and the village economy boomed as different small industries sprang up almost simultaneously. However, their development was hindered by word-wide economic difficulties, the lack of modernization, and neglect of the backlands in low soil fertility. Apart from this, commercial business enterprises mushroomed over the years alongside the cottage industries and took their places as the industries declined. This did not change the free enterprise nature of the village economy underlined by self-employment.

As the phenomenon of change continued to be manifested, an agriculture-based cottage industry economy premised on sole proprietorship evolved into a commercial enterprise as another form of sole proprietorship. The commercial enterprises relied on imported goods for continuity. This is believed to have resulted in a movement away from the backlands that molded and shaped the village economy in early times. The consequence was the underdevelopment of rural-based industries. The large scale production of oil, cassava bread, casareep, sugar, rice and lemonade speaks of the industries that existed. Many operated as a family business under bottom houses and drew a ready supply of labor from among family members and other villagers. It is important to note that not all the villagers worked in the cottage industries; some migrated in search of work elsewhere, including the Gold and diamond fields.

The establishment of bottom-house industries depended, to a great extent, on the kind of crops produced in the back dam. It follows therefore that the activities in the bottom house factories were fundamentally an extension of what took place in the backlands where the village pioneers cultivated almost every possible square inch with ground provisions, fruit trees, vegetables, cane and other crops. This was indicative of the fact that a definite rhythm characterized the economy in that Crops were sowed at a certain time, reaped at a certain time, and processed at a certain time and in a particular way.

Production takes place almost at the point of cultivation and villagers ensure that nothing is wasted. This is not to suggest that a system of recycling existed; rather the contention is that the by-products (classified as waste by some people) were valuable commodities, if not for human consumption, at least for livestock. The conversion process determined by the cottage industries responded to the need of residents to create their own employment to generate wealth and consolidate their independence. This need became more pronounced, given the fact that the nearby estate at Enmore offered employment on a seasonal basis.
(Source: Stabroek news August, 1997: page)