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Jamaica Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The agricultural sector that dominated the economy at independence now accounts for a small part of the economy. Nevertheless, the industry is still important for employment, about every six Jamaicans work in agriculture, fishing or forestry.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Jamaica. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Sugar, which is used, among other things, for the production of rum, is still the most important export commodity in agriculture, although production has been declining gradually over a long period of years. An attempt to privatize parts of the state sugar industry in the 1990s failed, the state being forced to take back control after five years. The government made another attempt and sold its last five sugar factories in 2009-2010, three of which to a Chinese company. But the business continued to make a loss and in 2016 the government agreed to regain control of two sugar factories for a limited period.

Today, the sugar industry is not competitive, with production costs far exceeding other exporters. A favorable agreement with the EU expired in 2009. The outlook is particularly uncertain since the EU abolished its sugar quotas in 2017 and thereby released its own production.

Jamaica Agriculture and Fishing Overview

  • Digopaul: Definition and brief introduction of Jamaica. Major cities are listed and popular images are presented for this country.

Another traditional export product is bananas. However, cultivation has declined significantly since the late 1990s as EU countries reduced the trade benefits of the former colonies (see Economic overview). Several natural disasters have hit the sector. After Hurricane Gustav's progress in 2008, which devastated four-fifths of the banana crops, exports ceased completely. However, investments have been made in new crops and after six years exports resumed.

Agriculture and fishing of JamaicaOther export crops are coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper and citrus fruits. For domestic use, for example, beans, bananas, yams, corn, sweet potatoes and cassava are grown. The authorities are encouraging the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and rice to reduce imports and diversify exports. At the same time, import duties have decreased, which has led to a large influx of foreign foods that have out-competed local producers.

The weather is a risk factor for agriculture with recurring droughts, hurricanes and floods.

After decades of over-exploitation of the forest, Jamaica has started to replant trees on a large scale with foreign aid. Almost one third of the country's area consists of forest. One problem is still that trees are cut down and burned to make charcoal, both for private and commercial use.

The fishing industry is drawn with problems after previous overfishing.


Agriculture's share of GDP

6.7 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

41.0 percent (2016)


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