Find Agriculture expertise in Antigua and Barbuda
Agriculture along with forestry and fisheries accounts for a small proportion of the economy of Antigua and Barbuda, with a 3% share of GDP in 2012. Agricultural land constitutes a significant 29.5% of total land area (2009). With 2.8% of the total workforce employed in the sector (2008), the focus of the agricultural industry is largely on subsistence farming or small scale commercial farming catering for the domestic market, resulting in a private sector of limited size. As a result, the country relies on importation for most of its foodstuffs. Agricultural exports include cotton, largely sent to Japan, and fruit and vegetables sent to other Caribbean territories. Hot peppers and vegetables are exported to the United Kingdom and Canada. The primary fruit and vegetable exports are bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane and pineapples, alongside an active trade in livestock. This sees the production of cattle, pig, chicken and goat meat. Additionally, cow’s milk is the second most lucrative product, after fresh fruit, generating around US$1.8m in 2010. The primary government ministry responsible for the sector is the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment.
Key issues in the sector are food security and the sustainable development of existing resources, due to the reliance on imported foodstuffs. The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment hopes to advance the industry through the application of modern and emerging practices in order to strengthen food security initiatives, efficient land use management, environmental conservation measures and sustainable development of natural resources. Throughout 2011 there was a great deal of emphasis placed on increasing agriculture’s contribution to GDP and encouraging food and livelihood security. The ministry is also hoping to increase services to the private sector, with the provision of affordable tractors to farmers in various agricultural districts.
The industry is continuing to evolve with the introduction and development of new crops. The Agricultural Extension Department took part in trials to investigate the performance of new varieties of tomatoes, sweet peppers and other vegetables. Research is also continuing to explore the commercial feasibility of Irish potatoes.
The ministry is investing in private agriculture projects, such as an Agricultural Investment project geared towards the sustainable development of avocado varieties. This saw several hundred acres of avocado trees planted, bringing increased local employment in the agricultural industry and impacting on food security.
Additionally emphasis is being placed on the need to strengthen links between agriculture and tourism, for example through consideration of incentives for hotel in purchasing relationships with local producers, a cruise tourism policy to include locally produced commodities and an ecotourism strategy.
|Agriculture organisations in Antigua and Barbuda|