can hurricane damage to crops be prevented?

I recall reading that hurricanes are epic scale economic disasters for the agriculture in the Caribbean. E.g. entire crops countrywide got destroyed on multiple occasions throughout the 2000s decade.

Well, so now that we know how bad it can get, can something be done about this? Suppose a rich company or government agency is running a farm in Nicaragua or Cuba. They know ahead of time that maybe once in every three years there will be a big hurricane. What preemptive action can they take to mitigate the economic losses from such disasters? What are the mechanisms of crop destruction by the hurricane and can they be addressed using modern technology on a non-trivial scale? Or is it the case that there is just absolutely nothing that can be done, so that the periodic hurricane damage has to be factored in as a stable cost of doing business?

This is why farmers buy crop insurance.

Hurricanes create extremely high-velocity winds which can rip the leaves right off a plant (or rip the entire plant out of the ground) and extremely large amounts of rain in a very short period of time. The rain causes flooding which leads to soil erosion (again, capable of pulling the plants right out of the ground) and leaves lake-sized pools of water that will drown the plants standing in them.

If a hurricane can destroy a tree, it stands to reason there’s not much to protect crops that are planted annually.

There are very few things made by man that can withstand the full impact of a catagory 3+ hurricane and still stay functioning. Try Google Image Search with the terms “Hurricane Ike Galveston” for examples of the kind of damage a mid-sized storm like Ike can cause anywhere they make landfall.

ok, so suppose we conclude that there is nothing that can be done with the wind problem. Now, how about flooding problem? Can some arrangement of canals, pipes and whatever other civil engineering works mitigate this? Or is it the case that the primary destruction is done by the wind so that it makes no sense to even bother with addressing the flooding issue?

Probably you could do things. Super-reinforced greenhouses to keep the wind off, with huge drainage structures to control flooding, etc. etc.

But the real question is, can do you something that doesn’t cost more than the crop you’re trying to protect? (in both cost of the structures and the land used by the structures)

Given that not every farmer in the Carribean can be stupid or undercapitalized (though there are probably a lot without much capital) and that nobody’s building hurricane protection structures, then my guess is the answer is no.

**Quercus **nailed it. Fundamentally, agriculture is a low-tech, low-margin business. And as long as margins are low, tech has to stay low too.

When a GPS recever costs $50, you can put one on your tractor & plow or fertilize straighter rows, increasing yield a few percent at nil marginal cost. When it would have needed guys with surveyor’s gear to mark off all the row alignments, and they’d have charged thousands to do the work, farmers plowed by eye.
One of the hardest things for all of us to keep straight is that the price of anything eletronic or cumputerized has been falling steeply for 50 years and shows every sign of continuing to do so.

Meanwhile the cost of damn near everything else has been stable or rising. Digging and building are no cheaper now than they were 50 years ago.