Guinea - Agriculture

Agriculture provided 22.3 percent of GDP in 1998, and 80 percent of the employment of the economically active population. Guinea has a climate that allows for a range of activities, but only 15 percent of cultivable land

is farmed, and most production is for subsistence. After independence in 1958, agricultural production stagnated, and growth in production did not meet growth in population as many cash crop plantations were abandoned. Self-sufficiency in food production is still elusive, despite the end of Marxist economic policies in 1984.

There are projects in hand to improve rice production, which is the main staple and covers 50 percent of cultivable land. However, around 40 percent of the national consumption of rice is still imported. The country is self-sufficient in most other foodstuffs and is even able to export some vegetables and fruit to Europe. Oil palm, rubber, and cotton plantations have received foreign investment.

Approximately 30 percent of rural families own livestock, mainly in the Kankan and Labe regions. The UN estimates that there are 2.4 million cattle, 1.5 million sheep, 54,000 pigs, and 9 million chickens in Guinea. Guinea imports 1,500 tons of meat and 10,000 tons of dairy products for urban use every year, though several projects designed to increase production in these items are under way.

Fishing provides less than 1 percent of the GDP, but 6 percent of exports. Industrial fishing provides half of the 120,000 ton catch, and 65 percent of the industrial catch is caught by foreign-registered boats. A lack of infrastructure reduces the domestic market for fish.

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