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Caribbean Islands Table of Contents

Caribbean Islands


The decline in agriculture's share of both GDP and the labor force continued in the 1980s. From 1980 to 1985, agriculture as a share of GDP dropped from 8.3 percent to 5.7 percent. Likewise, the percentage of the labor force in agriculture decreased from over 30 percent in the 1970s to 24 percent by 1985. Agriculture's inability to keep pace with other sectors of the economy or population growth forced an increase in food imports. As a result of these trends, Jamaica's total food import bill increased elevenfold from 1960 to 1980. These patterns were likely to persist because fewer younger people were entering farming. For example, in 1985 an estimated 50 percent of the agricultural labor force was over fifty years of age and 30 percent over sixty years. In the 1980s, government policies sought to revive declining production of traditional export crops and to introduce and promote nontraditional export crops through the commercialization and modernization of the sector.

Data as of November 1987