Netherlands Antilles and Aruba - Agriculture
The rugged, rocky terrain of the Windwards' and the Leewards' poor soil and arid climate leave little scope for agriculture in either group. Various plantation crops have been pursued over the centuries—sugar, cotton, and tobacco especially. But efforts were always a struggle and had been largely abandoned by the 19th century. Aruba and Curaçao were used for ranching in the 18th and 19th centuries, but ranching too could never really compete with the islands' harsh environment. Only 10 percent of the Netherlands Antilles is arable, and its crop production—mostly fruits and vegetables, with some aloes, sorghum, and peanuts—are consumed entirely by the domestic market. Woodlands are almost non-existent and fishing scarce; only Sint Maarten has a small commercial fishing sector. Consequently, both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are heavily reliant on food imports. All in all, agriculture contributes less than 1 percent of the Antillean GDP and accounts for 1 percent of the workforce. In Aruba agriculture is even more marginal, occupying only 7 percent of available lands and 0.6 percent of the workforce.