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.