The economy of the Comoros is primarily agricultural, with arable land comprising 45% of the total land area. Among the chief crops in 1999, in tons, were manioc, 53,000; coconuts, 75,000; bananas, 59,000; sweet potatoes, 15,000; rice, 17,000; corn, 4,000; and copra, 9,000. Other crops include sugarcane, sisal, peppers, spices, coffee, and various perfume plants such as ylang-ylang, abelmosk, lemon grass, jasmine, and citronella. The chief export crops are vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang, and copra. The Comoros, including Mayotte, account for about 80% of world production of ylang-ylang essence, which is used in some perfumes. Marketed exports in 2001 included 70 tons of dried vanilla, valued at nearly $5.7 million.
Food demand is not met by domestic production, so Comoros is highly dependent on imported foods, especially rice. Over half of all foodstuffs are imported, and about 50% of the government's annual budget is spent on importing food. Agricultural productivity is extremely low, and cultivation methods are rudimentary. Fertilizer is seldom used by smallholders. About 20% of the cultivated land belongs to company estates; 20% to indigenous landowners who live in towns and pay laborers to cultivate their holdings; and 60% to village reserves allotted according to customary law. Agriculture contributed about 41% to GDP in 2000.