The chief crops are rice, sugar, plantains and bananas, citrus fruits, coffee, coconuts, and palm oil, in addition to staple food crops. With the exception of rice, the main export crop, plantation agriculture has suffered the consequences of absentee ownership. Rice production was 180,000 tons in 1999. Sugar production dropped so substantially in the 1980s that imports were required to meet local demand. Under union pressure, the government in early 1987 agreed to a national sugar plan to improve machinery and housing, and to create employment. Production of sugar cane in 1999 was 90,000 tons; of bananas, 55,000 tons; of plantains, 13,000 tons; of oranges, 12,000 tons; and of coconuts, 9,000 tons.
Since its creation in 1945, the Commission for the Application of Mechanized Techniques to Agriculture in Suriname has worked to reactivate several old plantations and bring new land under cultivation. The successful control of diseases and pests, introduction of water storage and irrigation schemes, and the development of new quick-growing varieties of rice have also increased total agricultural production.