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Sao Tome and Principe Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
About half of the country's area consists of arable land. Agriculture is dominated by cocoa, which has been the most important crop since the end of the 19th century. The cocoa plantations were nationalized after independence in 1975. Production then fell sharply at the same time as world market prices for cocoa fell in the late 1970s.
In the mid-1980s, the government began to partially privatize cocoa production to avoid economic collapse. Foreign companies had to take over the management of the plantations still owned by the state. However, the system created contradictions between the government and the companies, and in the mid-1990s, plantations began to be rented out with long contract periods.
During the second half of the 1980s land had also been distributed to small farmers. The dividend continued in the early 1990s when the government began to implement land reform with the support of the World Bank, among others. Some of the large state plantations were divided into smaller plots of land distributed to small farmers, in order to try to increase and broaden production and increase equality in society.
In addition to cocoa, coffee, coconuts, oil palms, bananas, citrus fruits, taro, breadfruit and flowers are grown. In the past, a lot of organic and fair-labeled cocoa has been grown, which gives producers far more pay than regular cocoa.
Agriculture for self-catering is poorly developed. One reason for this is that the country has so long been dominated by large plantations and that there has been no smallholder tradition. In the mid-1980s, São Tomé and Príncipe imported 90 percent of all food consumed. The land distribution, which began in the mid-1980s, reduced food imports significantly. Today, almost 30 percent is imported, including rice and wheat flour. The crops grown for domestic consumption are mainly bananas and root vegetables such as cassava and taro.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
11.4 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
50.7 percent (2016)
The election leads to a shift in power
The opposition party ADI wins in the parliamentary elections, but does not get its own majority in the National Assembly. Party leader Patrice Trovoada becomes new prime minister for a minority government.
Tender for oil licenses
São Tomé and Príncipe open for oil licenses in the country's own oil zone, but interest from the major oil companies is cool.
Criticism of money laundering
São Tomé and Príncipe are designated by the intergovernmental body Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as one of the countries that should do more to prevent money laundering.
Costa gets amnesty
Opposition leader Arlecio Costa, sentenced to prison for interference in the coup attempt in February 2009, receives amnesty from President Fradique de Menezes.