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Nicaragua Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture and forestry, livestock management and fishing form the basis of the economy. About 15 percent of the land area is cultivated and just over 40 percent is used as pasture. In the west sugar, maize, rice and bananas are grown on plantations. In the inner parts of the country, family farming with crops such as maize and beans dominates. There are also larger farms for livestock breeding. Coffee is grown mainly in the mountainous regions of the north.
Agricultural production is largely focused on the export of coffee, but also on meat, seafood, peanuts, sugar and bananas. Revenues for the traditional export products coffee, sugar and bananas vary depending on world market prices and weather conditions. An investment in new export products such as sesame seeds, beans and peanuts has proved successful.
Exports of meat and live livestock have increased since 1998 except for a decrease in livestock sales during the global financial crisis 2008-2009.
Despite the land reform that was implemented after the 1979 revolution, the land is unevenly distributed and almost two-fifths of rural residents are landless. The yield is low, especially on crops intended for the domestic market. From 2007, the government has provided small farmers with animals, fertilizers, building materials, credits, etc. through support programs financed with the help of Venezuela and the UN food program WFP.
The fishing industry developed in the 1990s, and exports of shrimp and lobster mainly increased. Income varies depending on world market prices. 2000 was a record year, since varying incomes to reach the same levels as in 2000.
Nicaragua has very valuable forests and exports of timber as well as furniture and other wood products have increased in recent years. In addition, a lot of illegal logging of timber takes place (see Natural Resources, Energy and Environment).
After several years of legal proceedings, a US court in 2007 ruled that six Nicaraguan farm workers would receive just over $ 3 million in damages for becoming sterile by banned pesticides while working on banana plantations owned by US food giant Dole Food.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
15.5 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
42.1 percent (2016)
Strong support for the government
According to an opinion poll presented by government-run media, Ortega and his government support two-thirds of the population. The study also shows, as the independent press reports, that close to two-thirds of Nicaraguans do not believe their situation has improved in recent times and 16 percent say it has deteriorated. In addition, just over half of those polled say they would leave the country if they could.
Protest against planned constitutional changes
Opposition parties, human rights groups and the Catholic Church are demonstrating in Managua against proposed amendments to the constitution, which should facilitate the re-election of a president and strengthen both the president's and the military's power.
Setback in border dispute
The International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) decides on the conflict between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, to the benefit of the latter country. The Court decides that Nicaragua must stop dredging, canal construction and other activities in the disputed area. Nicaragua is also ordered to withdraw police, military and civilians from the area (see November 2010 and July 2009).
Nicaragua is praised for equality
The country is ranked 10 out of 136 countries at the 2013 Equality Ranking made by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The ranking is the highest among Latin American and Caribbean countries, and a significant pick-up from 90th place in 2007. Nicaragua gets the best rating on the "political participation" point: 46 percent of ministers and 40 percent of MPs are women. Among the worst listings is income distribution, with women in Nicaragua on average earning 46 percent of what men earn.
Parliament gives channel permits
The National Assembly gives the Hong Kong-based company HKND permission to build a new channel to compete with the Panama Canal. The environmental movement is critical and says that ship traffic will pose a risk to Lake Nicaragua, which the waterway between the Pacific and the Atlantic will pass. Plans for a canal through Nicaragua existed long before the Panama Canal began to be built around the turn of the last century.
Protest against municipal election results
The opposition Liberal Party PLI submits an appeal against the results of three municipalities in the municipal elections in 2012, to the regional human rights commission IACHR. The PLI's legal representative says the party tried in vain to hear the complaints from the Nicaraguan electoral authority.
War Veterans Benefits
The National Assembly votes through a law that gives some of the country's war veterans social benefits such as pension, housing, land, free healthcare and certain tax exemptions. Ortega describes the law as an important step towards "national reconciliation" in Nicaragua. The law applies to all war veterans except deserters and those who belonged to the dictator Somoza's guard force.