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Comoros Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture dominates the economy of the Comoros and accounts for over 90 percent of the country's export earnings. Two out of three inhabitants are employed in agriculture, which, however, is difficult to develop due to poor soil and lack of arable land.
Cassava, sweet potatoes, rice and bananas are the most important crops, but more than half of all food must be imported. Almost all rice, which is the main food of the population, is purchased from abroad.
On the island of Anjouan, most of the country's three export crops are grown: vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang (flowers from a tree used to make perfume essence). The most fertile soil is reserved for these crops, which are grown on large estates owned by foreigners or the small domestic elite. The Comoros produce about 80 percent of the ylang-ylang sold globally and are thus the world-leading ylang-ylang producer. A few years ago, the country was also one of the world's largest vanilla producers, but competition from both other countries and synthetic vanilla has caused the Comoros to lose their position in the vanilla market. The economy is sensitive to the rapid changes in price and demand that characterize trade in these crops. Political unrest especially Anjouan (see Modern history) has periodically posed major problems for both production and trade.
Cultivation is done by means of old-fashioned methods and the harvesting could be increased through investments in, among other things, modern tools. The Comoros are connected to an agreement with the EU that guarantees the country money when export crop prices fall.
The Comoros have rich fishing waters and fish is an indispensable source of nutrition for the inhabitants. However, fishing takes place with simple gear and to a limited extent, and the Comoros must therefore import fish. According to studies, catches could be multiplied by modern fishing methods.
Since 2005, vessels from EU countries have been granted licenses for large-scale fishing, mainly of tuna, in Comorian waters. The agreement was extended by 2014 at the latest by three years.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
29.9 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
71.5 percent (2016)
Many injured by floods
The state of emergency is lifted when the water masses slowly sink away. Four people are killed in the floods and around 150 are injured. The road network is seriously damaged.
State of emergency after extreme weather
President Dhoinine faces a state of emergency after heavy rains and storms caused severe flooding. Electricity supply and telecommunications suffer from serious disruptions. Nearly 10,000 people must be evacuated from their homes. The risk of cholera outbreaks increases when Moroni's water and sewerage system stops working for over a month.