How is agriculture important to the caribbean

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in the region

Historically, agriculture has played a central role in the Caribbean economies. Large plantations of especially sugar and bananas produced agricultural commodities for exports representing an important sector for the economy. Today Caribbean agriculture is more diversified.

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Answer

How has agriculture changed in the Caribbean?

Today Caribbean agriculture is more diversified. Reforms of the EU agricultural policies had a dramatic effect on export demand for sugar and bananas, and stimulated a restructuring of farming systems and a shift of exports from raw materials (agricultural products) to processed food products.

What are the main agricultural products in the Caribbean?

In the past, Caribbean countries largely produced similar agricultural commodities such as sugar and bananas – particularly for export. As a result of changing market opportunities and an altered trade environment, many agricultural production activities are no longer profitable, while others strongly gained in profitability.

How important is tourism to the Caribbean’s growth?

The growth of tourism in the Caribbean became an important structural change over the past decades. The importance of this sector in the Caribbean is, as everything in the region, heterogeneous, but the average effects are large.

What are the benefits of Agriculture to a country?

When trade, national revenue, and employment are combined in a positive way, a country enjoys reduced poverty and boosted economic growth. Because strong agriculture results in benefits fairly quickly, focusing on it is one of the best ways to speed up development and improve a country’s standing in the world. #6. It can help heal the environment

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How many farms in Puerto Rico have crop insurance?

Only 16% of farms have crop insurance coverage and 68% of farms have a net household income of less than $20,000 making the vulnerability to climate change among Puerto Rico’s farmers very high.


What causes water scarcity?

Scarcity of water for irrigation. Drought decreases the environmental carrying capacity and productivity of the soil. Sea level rise can cause the salinization of aquifers and loss of agricultural lands on the coast. Increased incidence of pests.


What is the role of agriculture in the Caribbean?

Historically, agriculture has played a central role in the Caribbean economies. Large plantations of especially sugar and bananas produced agricultural commodities for exports representing an important sector for the economy. Today Caribbean agriculture is more diversified. Reforms of the EU agricultural policies had a dramatic effect on export demand for sugar and bananas, and stimulated a restructuring of farming systems and a shift of exports from raw materials (agricultural products) to processed food products. Agriculture also makes up a smaller share of the economy. It is a well know aspect of structural transformation of an economy that as an economy develops, the share of its agricultural sector declines. For the Caribbean this is illustrated by Figure 1. In several countries (especially among the Islands, such as the Cayman Islands) agriculture represents less than 1 percent of GDP. However in countries such as Haiti, Dominica, Guyana, and Grenada agriculture is still an important sector in the economy. It contributes between 7 percent and 17 percent of GDP, but has a significantly larger share of employment (typically between 10 percent and 25 percent, and almost 50 percent in Haiti).


What is the Caribbean’s economic transformation?

Caribbean countries underwent a significant structural transformation of their overall economy, with agriculture becoming a less important part of GDP and employment. However, the structural transformation process of the overall economy away from agriculture did not coincide with a significant change towards a highly productive agriculture sector. Agricultural yields as well as output value per worker are low throughout the Caribbean in regional and global comparisons. Figure 6illustrates the yield evolution of some of the main crops in the Caribbean and compares it to that of the same crops in other regions in the world. In the past, Caribbean countries largely produced similar agricultural commodities such as sugar and bananas – particularly for export. As a result of changing market opportunities and an altered trade environment, many agricultural production activities are no longer profitable, while others strongly gained in profitability. More recently, they developed more heterogeneous production systems that reflect their regional and international competitive advantages and a shift towards more high-value products. However, there is much scope for further growth. Productivity is still fairly low and many farmers still have to catch up with current best practices in the sector. The productivity of agriculture is constrained by a broad set of factors, including inadequate access to improved varieties and other technologies, low access to credit, high labor costs, insufficient monitoring and response to pests and diseases, and inadequate skills and entrepreneurship among farmers. The productivity of the livestock sector is constrained by several additional factors, including low availability (and high prices) of quality feed, due to the limitations in large-scale feed production and limited availability of grazing lands. Theft, low quality feed concentrate and low quality breeding stock, are other factors that specifically limit the productivity of the livestock sector. Farm sizes remain small in the majority of the countries in the region. Small farmers with limited financial resources for investments and restricted access to credit, require improved technologies and extension services that adapt to small farm sizes and low volumes of on-farm investments.


What percentage of people live below poverty line in Haiti?

The average level of poverty across BMCs is around 26 percent. In Haiti no less than 77 percent of people live below the poverty line. Poverty is also very high in other focus countries, Grenada and Guyana, at about 36 percent and somewhat less in Jamaica, at 18 percent. It is obvious that reducing poverty is a major challenge for the future.


What are the challenges of the Caribbean?

These include low and variable economic growth; unsustainable debt and weak fiscal management; high unemployment; high incidence of non-communicable diseases; vulnerability to the effects of climate change and natural hazards; environmental degradation; crime and increasing threats to citizen security; and persistent and extreme poverty and food insecurity – most with distinctive gender imbalances. The development of the agriculture sector should be a key priority to address these challenges. However, the region faces major challenges to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the agriculture sector (including fisheries and aquaculture) and its poverty-reducing capacity. An important factor is the historical difficult structural adjustment of the region’s agricultural sector after the end of the preferred EU market access for sugar and bananas. Growth in agricultural productivity has been slow and the sector suffers from high trade costs and a low capacity to comply with modern food safety and quality standards. As a consequence, it has been unable to adequately respond to rapidly growing demand for high-standard agri- food products from the tourism, processing, and retailing sectors – in- and outside the region. Instead, the growing demand by these sectors in the region is mainly fulfilled by imports. The region’s agricultural sector is also constrained by large and increasing pressures on natural resources and a high vulnerability to climate change. There is, however, significant potential for strengthening market linkages and much scope for farmers, fishers, and agri-food businesses to catch up with current best practices and technologies. If the region succeeds in fulfilling this potential without further compromising its natural capital and related ecosystem services, agriculture can be an important source for economic growth and a key contributor to poverty reduction, particularly for households that are profiting less from the growth in other sectors. In addition, inclusive and sustainable agricultural development can contribute in overcoming major socio-economic and environmental challenges in the region, including food and nutrition insecurity, obesity, youth unemployment, gender inequality, unsustainable use of natural resources, and climate change. This summary identifies key trends in agriculture in the Caribbean and the related opportunities for investments in support of growth, poverty reduction, and sustainability. It presents, to the extent to which available data and information allow, a sectorial review of agriculture in the region and identifies opportunities, prospects and investment priorities. This paper draws heavily on the joint Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) – FAO reports “Study on the State of Agriculture in the Caribbean” summarizing the key insights, conclusions and implications of these reports.


Why are the islands important to trade?

Since all the countries in the region (1) are either islands or have direct access to the sea and (2) are relatively small and constrained by natural and geographic conditions, trade and international value chains are important for them – both for agricultural production (and potential exports) and food consumption (and potential imports). The islands are mostly net importers of agri-food products. Only the Continental States export more agri-food products than they import. Exports from the Continental States have increased strongly since 2000. On the Islands, food imports have increased more than exports. Although the region is close to the markets of the USA and Canada, integration in these international trading systems is constrained by low liner shipping connectivity and inefficiencies in port operations. Historically, agricultural supply chains and trade in the region were heavily targeted towards export to the EU. Reforms of EU trade policies caused a dramatic decline in export demand for sugar and bananas from the region, resulting in a more diversified trade structure. “Traditional exports” which include sugar, bananas and basic agricultural commodities have declined from 60 percent of agri-food exports in the early 1990s to less than 20 percent now. The main growth area has been exports of processed foods, including beverages, which increased from 10-15 percent to around 50 percent of agri-food exports now. This transformation has been strongest in the island economies and less so in the continental states. This shift in export composition from traditional commodities to processed foods is illustrated by Figure 8.


Why is the sustainability of the Caribbean Sea under threat?

The sustainability of the fisheries sector is under threat as a result of overfishing and natural resource degradation. While fishing in the Caribbean Sea almost doubled since the 1990s, the annual catch has declined by more than 25 percent (see Figure 7). About 50 percent of the catch are overexploited species.


Is food access a problem in Haiti?

Source:FAOSTAT In all countries, except Haiti, food availability exceeds the established food energy requirement guidelines. Food access is a greater problem for food and nutrition security. Lack of access to food is strongly related to poverty. Not surprisingly, food access is low in countries such as Haiti where a large share of the population lies under the poverty line.


Why is agriculture important?

Here are ten reasons why agriculture is important: #1. It’s the main source of raw materials. Many raw materials, whether it’s cotton, sugar, wood, or palm oil, come from agriculture. These materials are essential to major industries in ways many people aren’t even aware of, such as the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, diesel fuel, plastic, …


How does agriculture help in developing countries?

In developing countries, agricultural jobs help reduce high rates of unemployment. When it comes to reducing poverty, evidence shows that focusing on agriculture is significantly more effective than investing in other areas. #5. It’s crucial to a country’s development.


How does agriculture help the environment?

It can help heal the environment. Agriculture possesses the power to harm or heal. When farmers prioritize biodiversity on their land, it benefits the earth. Having more biodiversity results in healthier soil, less erosion, better water conservation, and healthier pollinators.


What happens to agriculture when it suffers?

Countries with plenty of those supplies export them and trade for materials they don’t have. If a country’s agriculture suffers for some reason, prices can go up and it disrupts the flow of trade.


Why is economic development important?

When trade, national revenue, and employment are combined in a positive way, a country enjoys reduced poverty and boosted economic growth.


Is agriculture a source of employment?

The agricultural industry is still one of the biggest sources of employment and in many areas, it’s actually booming. Whether it’s working as a farmer, harvester , technician for farm equipment, scientist, and so on, there are plenty of jobs available in this field. In developing countries, agricultural jobs help reduce high rates of unemployment. When it comes to reducing poverty, evidence shows that focusing on agriculture is significantly more effective than investing in other areas.


Do developing countries depend on agriculture?

Speaking of trade, developing countries still get most of their national income from agricultural exports. While developed countries don’t depend on agriculture as much as they used to, their economies would definitely take a hit if all exports suddenly stopped.

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