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Economy of Dominica

Although the financial services industry is increasingly becoming its largest income, agriculture, with bananas as the principal crop, is still Dominica's economic mainstay. Banana production employs, directly or indirectly, upwards of one-third of the work force. This sector is highly vulnerable to weather conditions and to external events affecting commodity prices.

In view of the European Union's announced phase-out of preferred access of bananas to its markets, agricultural diversification is a priority. Dominica has made some progress, with the export of small quantities of citrus fruits and vegetables and the introduction of coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, and exotic fruits such as mangoes, guavas, and papayas. Dominica has also had some success in increasing its manufactured exports, with soap as the primary product. Dominica also recently entered the offshore financial services market.

Because Dominica is mostly volcanic and has few beaches, development of tourism has been slow compared with that on neighboring islands. Nevertheless, Dominica's high, rugged mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots make it an attractive destination. Cruise ship stopovers have increased following the development of modern docking and waterfront facilities in the capital. Eco-tourism also is a growing industry on the island.

Industries

Financial Services

The Commonwealth of Dominica has become in recent years a major international financial hub, and is quickly becoming one of the largest banking centres in the world, and offshore services are also becoming its main source of income. There are a number of service providers. These include global financial institutions including Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada,Cathedral Investment Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, and The Interoceanic Bank of the Caribbean.

Agriculture

Agriculture accounts for about 20% of GDP and employs about 40% of the labor force. Agricultural exports amounted to $19.1 million in 2001. Most crops are produced on small farms, the 9,000 owners of which are banded together in about 10 cooperatives; there are also several large farms that produce mostly bananas for export. Other major crops are coconuts and citrus fruits which are grown in commercial quantities.

Animal husbandry

There are about 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of pasture land, comprising 2.7% of the total land area. The island does not produce sufficient meat, poultry, or eggs for local consumption so there are large imports of animal products.

Fishing

There is a relatively large fishing industry in Dominica, but it is not modernized 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.

Forestry

Dominica has the potential for a lumber industry. Some 46,000 hectares (110,000 acres) are classified as forest, representing 61% of the total land area. Commercially valuable woods include mahogany, blue and red mahoe, and teak. Total imports of forest products in 2000 amounted to $10.3 million.

Mining

Dominica's mining sector played a minor role in its economy. Pumice was the major commodity extracted from the island for export, and Dominica produced clay, limestone, volcanic ash, and sand and gravel, primarily for the construction industry.

Secondary Industries

Dominica's small manufacturing sector is almost entirely dependent on agriculture, and the island has built up a handful of successful industries specializing in soaps and other agricultural by products. The largest manufacturer is Dominica Coconut Products, controlled by Colgate-Palmolive, which produces soap from coconuts.

There are four plants to process limes and other citrus fruits; two bottling plants; two distilleries; four small apparel plants; and four small furniture factories. Dominica exports water to its Caribbean neighbors; shoes, cement blocks, furniture, and soap and toiletries are also exported. Home industries produce some leather work, ceramics, and straw products.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Dominica"

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