Economy

ECONOMY

NEWS 2015

• December 29, 2015Algunos resultados económicos del 2015

Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country

Agriculture constitutes 60% of its total exports which annually yield approximately US $2.0 billion. In addition, Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña rum is renowned as among the best in Latin America, and its tobacco and beef are also well regarded. Nicaragua’s agrarian economy has historically been based on the export of cash crops such as coffee, beef and tobacco. Light industry (maquila), tourism, banking, mining, fisheries, and general commerce are expanding. Nicaragua also depends heavily on remittances from Nicaraguans living abroad, which totaled $655.5 million in 2006.

On the Pacific side, coffee and cotton are by far the most important commercial crops. In 1992, more land was devoted to coffee than to any other crop, and it is the nation’s leading export in terms of value. Nearly two-thirds of the coffee crop comes from the northern part of the central highlands, in the area north and east of the town of Estelí. In the early 1980s, cotton became Nicaragua’s second-largest export earner. Production is centered on large farms along the central Pacific coast. Unfortunately, the growth of the cotton industry has created serious problems. Soil erosion and pollution from the heavy use of pesticides have become serious concerns in the cotton district. Yields and exports have both been declining since 1985.

Plantation crops are significant in the Caribbean lowlands. After disease wiped out most of the region’s banana plants in the years before 1945, attempts were made to diversify crops. Today most of Nicaragua’s bananas are grown in the northwestern part of the country near the port of Corinto; sugarcane is also grown in the same district. Subsistence farms, where food is grown mainly for the consumption of the farm family instead of for sale, are found throughout Nicaragua. Favorite food crops grown on such farms include rice, beans, maize, citrus fruits, and cassava. Cassava, a root crop somewhat similar to the potato, is an important food in tropical regions. The plant’s roots can be eaten boiled and sliced, or ground into flour. Cassava is also the main ingredient in tapioca pudding.

The Pacific lowlands and the middle and southern parts of the Central highlands are the principal cattle-grazing areas. An especially large number of cattle are found to the east of Lake Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s economy has also grown due to the emigration of retirees from parts of North America and Europe. The influx of incoming residents has generated the construction of residencies and commercial services throughout the country. Illustrated above are the residencies of Viejo Santo Domingo, which are some of the country’s high-end residencies. Beginning in the 1960s, shrimp became big business on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The main shrimping centers on the Pacific coast are Corinto and San Juan del Sur. Fishing boats on the Caribbean side bring shrimp as well as lobsters into processing plants at Puerto Cabezas, Bluefields, and Laguna de Perlas.

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