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Michael Sofer

Abstract

The outer island of Kadavu is representative of the Fijian periphery. This paper deals with its physical characteristics, infrastructural conditions, and village economic activities with the aim of understanding the changes it has gone through in recent years. A combination of micro-geographic studies in two villages and a meso-geographical analysis show that the pattern of development found in Kadavu in the early 1980s has not changed much. The current pattern of cash crop production and trade is almost entirely dependent on the kava beverage crop, infrastructure is underdeveloped, the island suffers from the peripheral penalty phenomenon, and government initiatives aimed at changing the trend are very limited. However, the current form of non-capitalist production and its derived benefit has forced villagers into a strategy of adaptation which might actually be preferable for them under the current conditions of peripheralization.