The twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the leading producer of oil and gas in the Caribbean. As a result, the agricultural sector is small by comparison but is still regarded as a socially and commercially important sector, as it accounts for use of some 16.7% of the land area. While the contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP of the country is less than 1%, it contributes 5% to total employment, and is particularly beneficial to those living in rural communities.
A national economic policy and strategy has been conceptualised which places greater emphasis on the growth of the non-oil foreign exchange earnings and relatively labour-intensive sectors of the economy, such as tourism, agriculture, agro-processing, and financial services.
Action Plan for Agriculture
The National Food production Action Plan 2012-2015 was developed out of this strategy and aims to:
Staples selected to be developed under the food security component of the plan were:
Vegetables earmarked to be grown to support the domestic market were:
The plan also seeks to encourage the growth of legumes and pulses like:
It also focuses on producing a year-round supply of fruits like:
The strategic plan in this area is to increase the levels of pork and poultry production as well as fish stock.
The 2012 – 2015 Action Plan outlines several challenges to the development of the sector including:
As a result, a number of strategies have been developed to address these challenges. They include: the development of technology and infrastructure for post-harvest storage and the handling of produce; developing and encouraging farmers to use protected production systems; improving the system of farm certification; and, working with the Ministry of Health to develop the capability of pesticide testing of plant produce for consumption.
Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname is a sovereign state on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. At 165,000 km2 it is the smallest country in South America. In 2010, agriculture accounted for 10% of the country’s GDP. Agricultural activities take place mainly along the coast and account for 16% of the country’s economically active population.. However agriculture continues to be important to Suriname because:
Crops cultivated in Suriname include rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, peanuts, plantains, cassava and citrus fruits. Forest production also takes place. Rice and bananas continue to be the main exports showing an upward trend from US $69 million in 2007 to US $115 million in 2011.
In the fisheries sector, fish and shrimp continue to be the main exports, while livestock commodities including beef, poultry, pork and dairy are all net imports.
All eggs consumed in Suriname are domestically produced.
St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands within the Eastern Caribbean. Currently, agriculture contributes 3% of Saint Lucia’s GDP and there are many small and medium sized agricultural enterprises. However, the country’s economy also depends significantly on its major natural resources – beaches, minerals and mineral springs, in addition to its services.
Trading partners for St. Lucia are the United Kingdom, US, Brazil, Peru, France, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Bananas have been the major crop for many decades although production levels have declined considerably.
As a result, government, with the assistance of the Taiwanese government, has taken steps to combat the Black Sigatoka disease, also known as the banana leaf spot disease, and has been paying close attention to existing and emerging challenges and threats such as Panama Disease.
With regard to the coconut industry, there is an effort to further develop production and to find increased export opportunities.
In the area of livestock, government is trying to increase production, primarily for food security reasons and to reduce the import food bill.
St. Lucia produces the following crops:
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island country in the Leeward Islands chain and is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, both in area and population. Its economy is characterised by tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
About 15,700 acres of land in St. Kitts and Nevis is used for agricultural purposes. This represents some 24% of the total land area. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after several decades of losses. Subsequently, the government embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking.
Over the period 2009 – 2014, agriculture, on average, contributed 5.07% to 2.5% to GDP. The government’s agricultural diversification programme is continuing with emphasis on crops and livestock such as hot pepper, Irish and sweet potato, vegetables, dairy, beef, mutton, pork and poultry.
In Nevis, sea-island cotton and coconuts are the major agricultural products. On both islands, holdings are small and farmers grow vegetables for local consumption but less than 10% of the fresh produce consumed on the islands is grown locally.
The livestock sector includes cattle, small ruminants and pigs.
The country has a tropical climate with wet and dry seasons that aid farming of most crops. In 2013, the total population contributing to agriculture was estimated at 5,000 (21% of the working population), with 20% female and 80% male.
Crops primarily grown as agricultural products in St. Kitts and Nevis are:
Crops primarily grown for local consumption in St. Kitts and Nevis are:
St. Kitts and Nevis are beneficiaries of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF). Through this, the Republic of China-Taiwan provides humanitarian aid, technical assistance, education and training and loans and investments to the industry.
Current Economic Contribution of Market Infrastructure in St Kitts Nevis 
 Data adapted from ECCB Statistical Report - GDP Estimates by Economic Activity in Current Prices (1977-2017)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is another promising agricultural country. The main island, St. Vincent, is the largest of 150 islands and cays (the Grenadines), which are located to its south. Volcanic in nature, St. Vincent is forested and mountainous. Its fertile lands, forests and marine life are some of the island's best assets.
The country has had mixed economic performance in the last decade (2006 – 2016) and it has been noted that the agriculture and industrial sectors were declining while service sectors (Government services, wholesale retail trade, and financial services) were increasing in importance and relative contribution to GDP. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP declined from 12.55% in 1996 to 6.2% in 2013. Even with the decline of the island’s primary crop, banana, due to the dismantling of the special European Union access arrangements, agriculture remains the major economic contributor and source of employment. The country’s agro processing/value-adding sector is performing well. There is room for investment.
As outlined in the St. Vincent & the Grenadines National Economic and Social Development Plan 2013-2025, government is committed to diversifying the industry by investing in modern technology and by creating linkages with sectors such as tourism and manufacturing.
Government also aims to expand and encourage private sector investment in agro-processing, encourage entrepreneurship among farmers, and increase youth involvement in the sector through training and access to land. There is an effort to diversify crop production beyond bananas to include coconuts, arrowroot and root crops such as cassava, yams and sweet potatoes.
The mountainous terrain and small size are restrictive to large scale farming. As a result the majority of agricultural activities take place on small farmer holdings.
The livestock industry consists of small ruminants (sheep and goats). Chicken is also produced but imports of chicken meat exceed local production.
St. Vincent is a beneficiary of the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF). Through this, the Republic of China-Taiwan provides humanitarian aid, technical assistance, education and training and loans and investments to the industry.
Crops primarily produced in St. Vincent include:
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory located in the Leeward islands, measuring 16 km long and 11 km wide. Since the devastation of Hurricane Hugo and the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, the Montserratian economy has been effectively halted and imports include virtually everything available for sale on the island. Half of the island remains uninhabitable, and economic activities particularly in agriculture and tourism, continue to be determined by the volcanic activity as the agriculture sector has been affected by the destruction of crops and limited land for farming.
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Greater Antilles and the fourth largest in the Caribbean. Agriculture is one of its major sectors.
The sector currently contributes 7% to the GDP and employs 17% of the workforce, with 27% being female and 73% male. The island produces sugar, molasses, rum, bagasse, bananas, coffee, cocoa, citrus fruit, ground provisions, canned fruit, essential oils, marmalade, coconuts, Jamaican ackee, pimento, ginger, tobacco, beans, tomatoes, rice, poultry, pork, beef, goat meat and dairy products.
Regarding livestock, the country boasts substantial holdings. However meat and dairy products such as powdered milk, butter and cheese are not enough to meet local requirements for a growing population.
Jamaica supplies half of its fish requirements. It continues to employ a vast majority of workers in the agriculture sector, with over 14,000 registered fishermen in 2002. Exports include conch, and lobster.
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti is a sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles. With an estimated size of 27,750 square kilometers, Haiti has 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-- approximately 61% of the CARICOM population.
Half of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector with 40% depending solely on the sector, although the country relies on imports to supply 44%of their food needs. Agriculture, along with forestry and fishery accounts for 25% of Haiti’s gross domestic product (2012).
Haiti also produces corn, beans, cassava, yams, sweet potato, peanuts, bananas, millet, pigeon peas, sugarcane, rice, sorghum and wood. It also has a small fishing industry with catches totaling 5,000 tons in recent years.
In terms of livestock, the national herd is over 4.6 million head with 45% goats, 24% cattle, 23% pigs and 8% sheep and also produces high quality baby chicks for export to poultry farmers.
Manufacturing is also an emerging industry producing beverages, butter, edible oils, and flour..
Despite the variety of crops that this country is able to produce, it remains vulnerable due to damage from frequent natural disasters.
Guyana is a sovereign state on the northern mainland of South America. Agriculture is one of its main economic activities with 51,000 (14%) of the working population in the sector. Given the size of Guyana, and the importance of the agriculture sector, as well as the large volumes of products available, it is expected that the country would have a sophisticated marketing network. And what might be deemed small scale production in Guyana would yield three to four times more than a similar producer in other Caribbean countries.
Other products produced by Guyana include:
Agriculture remains central to the country’s food security, supplying significant amount of fruits and vegetables, chicken, beef, and pork to satisfy local consumption. The rice industry especially has recorded consistently high levels of output, breaking the 400,000 tonne bar, in 2011, and the 500,000 tonne bar, in 2013. For 2014, rice output attained an impressive 635,238 tonnes, an increase of 18.6%. Other crops such as vegetables, staple crops, fruits and spices are being produced in larger quantities to satisfy local needs as well as to meet the requirements of export markets.
The vast majority of agricultural activity takes place in Guyana’s coastal plains. The local climate is tropical, generally hot and humid, with two rainy seasons from May to mid-August and the second from mid-November to mid-January.
The fisheries sector continues to be a major source of animal protein in Guyana and contributed G$157 million (2.8%) to total GDP in 2004, greater than that of rice (2.6%). In aquaculture particularly, species grown are queriman, snook, croaker, bashaw, tilapia, tarpon, shrimp, tilapia, and catfish.
Grenada’s primary natural resources are its fertile arable lands, forests, and marine resources. The agriculture sector is the main user of these resources and is a major contributor to the country’s economic and social development. Activities in the agriculture sector also have significant impact on the sustainability of the resources it uses.
Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005) severely damaged the agricultural sector in Grenada. Banana, one of Grenada’s major export crops since the 1960s, was totally devastated and the island has had to import banana from Suriname to meet local needs. Grenada is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg which accounts for more than 50 per cent of the country’s agricultural export earnings.
Agriculture which employs 11% of the island’s labour force has been recovering slowly and contributed 5.6% to the island’s GDP in 2014.
With regard to the economy, it is slowly recovering from a protracted recession following the 2008-12 global financial crises. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) projected modest positive economic growth in the short to medium term averaging 2.6% between 2013 and 2015.
Agricultural findings for Grenada include:
The sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, and increased incidence of natural disasters and other extreme weather events.
The Commonwealth of Dominica, also known as the nature island of the Caribbean, is the most northerly and largest of the Windward Islands. It is heavily forested and is renowned for its lakes, waterfalls and over 365 rivers.
The Dominican economy has largely been dependent on agriculture, primarily bananas; but government is also seeking to promote the country as an "ecotourism" destination.
The agricultural sector is a significant contributor to the economy of Dominica, contributing approximately 17%, or US $93.4 million to the country’s GDP. It is also a major source of jobs in Dominica, employing an estimated 7,000 out of the estimated 32,000 persons actively seeking employment. This represents 21% of the active work force.
An estimated 34.7% of land is used for agriculture in Dominica, with permanent crops making up 24% of that number. There is also an additional 8% of arable land. While Dominica’s rocky and mountainous terrain makes it unsuitable for plantation production, the climate, fertility, and topography are favorable for tree crops.
Dominica experienced a "banana boom" in the 1980s when it was assured access into the UK market. At that time, banana exports accounted for as much as 70% of export earnings. With the decline in the European market as an export destination, more emphasis has been placed on diversification into other crops such as citrus fruits, vegetables, coffee, cocoa, coconuts, herbal oils, extracts, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, mangoes, guavas, and papayas.
Livestock is a minor but significant contributor to the sector. Laying hens, poultry, cattle, goats, sheep, and pork are grown primarily for local consumption.
There is a relatively large fishing industry in Dominica, but it is small-scale and almost exclusively serves the domestic market. A successful experiment in fresh-water prawn farming, supported by Taiwanese aid, has produced substantial amounts of prawns for the domestic and local markets. Japan has provided support for a fish landing and processing plant in Roseau.
Belize is a country on the eastern coast of Central America, and while over 60% of Belize’s land surface is covered by forest, some 20% of the country’s land is covered by cultivated land (agriculture) and human settlements. Belize has a small, mostly private enterprise economy that is based primarily on export of agriculture, agro-based industry, crude petroleum, and tourism. In agriculture, citrus and sugar remain the chief crops accounting for nearly half of exports while the banana industry is the population’s largest employer.
In 2011, the country’s gross exports amounted to US $345.7 million with citrus (14.8%), sugar (13%), banana (9.1%), marine products (7.1%) and papaya (3.3%).making up the largest categories.
The chain of islands known as the Bahamas, officially called the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, consists of 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamian economy is heavily dependent on the tourism and financial services sectors. Agriculture and fisheries sectors account for 5% of both GDP and employment. Despite this, the importance of these sectors to the socioeconomic well-being of the country cannot be ignored.
An estimated 80% ($250 million worth) of the Bahamian food supply continues to be imported. Expansion of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in sustainable, cost effective ways can only assist in the diversification of the local economy and reduce its dependency on imports.
Agricultural production in the Bahamas focuses on four main areas: crops, poultry, livestock and dairy, with most agriculture products consumed domestically.
Action Plan for Agriculture
The government aims to:
With regard to land use, agriculture is carried out on small plots throughout the most of the islands with about 1% of the land area cultivated. The government has taken steps to expand and improve agriculture in reserving 182,000 hectares (452,000 acres) exclusively for farming, of which 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) is for fruit farming.
Most of the land earmarked for low-cost agricultural leases are found on Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Agriculture is done on a small scale, producing mainly for domestic consumption. The most lucrative export is grapefruit, generating US$459,000 in 2010.
The major thrust in the agricultural sector in Barbados is to reduce the food import bill. Among the issues that hinder the achievement of this goal are, high energy costs, insufficient sector investment, and insufficient human resources involved in production. This all results in a marked reduction in the contribution of agriculture to GDP and an overall low level of food security.
In the area of fisheries, Barbados’ fishing industry, says the FAO, comprises nine main fisheries:
The FAO goes on to say that in 2002 flying fish (Hirundichthys affinis) was the most important species for fisheries in Barbados comprising approximately 64% of the total annual landings. The second most important species was dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus) which comprised 22% of the total annual landings.
Barbados is also known for a number of superior quality agro-based products such as:
A country report commissioned on behalf of CARICOM indicates that the sugar and rum segments have been receiving attention through restructuring to enhance efficiencies while attempts at the revival of the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep industry, a much-sought after meat and a prominent hair sheep, continue.
Still, on a per capita basis, Barbados imports the most food amongst the countries studied to feed its local and visitor population. Total annual imports of food products averaged USD $315 million between 2010 and 2015 with imports of:
In the case of fruits, Barbados imports 93% of its requirements.
According to Chapter 3 of Barbados’ Medium Term Development Strategy 2010-2014: “The Agricultural sector has undergone and will continue to undergo significant changes in order to combat the challenges inherent in the domestic and external environment.
On the domestic front, agriculture continues to compete with other sectors for scarce resources such as land, labour and capital.”
This clearly indicates that the agricultural sector will continue to face severe challenges and suggests the continuing need for policy measures aimed at stimulating sector growth. The Country Report commissioned on behalf of CARICOM also noted that in 2013, Barbados developed a Strategic Plan for the transformation of the agricultural sector based on the theme “Food Security” as the current level of food imports was deemed unacceptable by the Minister of Agriculture.
Barbados’ land area is 431 square kilometres (sq. km) with 140 sq. km. available for production. And of this amount, 12,000 hectares are classified as arable. Permanent crops occupy 2.33% of this area and other crops and livestock on 69.77% (2011) with about 5,400 ha or 12% irrigated (2013).
Increasing competitiveness of sugarcane
The sugarcane industry, once a major occupier of arable lands, has been restructured to improve international competitiveness by emphasizing the provision of biomass for the cogeneration of electricity in order to augment the energy supply to the national grid, as well as strengthening linkages with the Tourism/Services sectors.
Cotton, once a vibrant export commodity is now only occupying a small acreage despite the potential to produce high quality cotton.
Overall, the agriculture sector continues to be affected by:
Looking to the future with strategic plan
In the National Strategic Plan of Barbados (2005-2025), a series of strategies to enhance the Competitiveness of the Agriculture Sector so that it can compete in both the domestic and international markets and increase output are outlined.
One of the strategies is to restructure and modernise the entire agricultural sector to enhance productivity and product quality, reduce cost and post-harvest losses and create value-added to increase local consumption and export potential. This will be achieved through:
The Antigua and Barbuda economy is dominated by the service sector, led by tourism, and a relatively small agriculture sector, comprising less than 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The value of such contributions averaged US$121.5 million over the 2001-2004 period, led by fisheries, which contributed 50% of the total.
In spite of these economic indicators, the weight of the contribution of agricultural activity must be measured in its significant contribution to employment of approximately 5,000 persons, including female producers, food security and social welfare, that supports the current Human Development Index (HDI) rank of 55. The continued development of the food, agriculture and natural resources sector is critical to maintain and improve the HDI, as well as contribute to economic growth.