Agriculture in the Bahamas
Agriculture in the Bahamas is the third largest pillar of the Bahamian economy, representing between 5 and 7 percent of its total GDP.
Agriculture has been declining as a proportion of the economy since its apogee in the 1910s and 20s. The sector was gravely impacted by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff implemented in the United States of America as a protectionist solution to the Great Depression of 1929. The same resulted in Bahamian agricultural products (mainly pineapple, tomato and citrus) being outsourced to US territories - for example, Hawaii ramped up its production of pineapples as a response to the increase in cost of importing the Bahamian version.
Today farming and agro-industrial production are carried out on relatively minute acreages on nearly all islands, and are of a relatively subsistence nature. About 1% of the land area is cultivated. The nature of the terrain can also be a challenge to a broadening of the scope of farming, which remains mainly a household industry.
Main agricultural products
Export-oriented orange, grapefruit, and cucumber production occurs on Abaco. Agricultural products in 2004 included 55,500 tons of sugar cane, 13,000 tons of grapefruit, 8,700 tons of lemons and limes, 5,000 tons of tomatoes, and 880 tons of sweet potatoes.
Among steps the government has taken to expand and improve agriculture is the reserving of 450,000 acres (1,821 km2) exclusively for farming, 20,000 acres (81 km2) of which were converted for the purpose of fruit farming.
The government of the Bahamas also launched an Agricultural and Marine Sciences Institute on the island of Andros, as a way of attracting more citizens to study in agronomic, agro-industrial and subsistence fields. To date there has been little success in buttressing the agricultural product of the country, and any significant development regarding the same is expected to be very gradual in nature.