About 8.8% of the total land area was classified as arable in 1998. Farming methods are primitive, and productivity is low. The best lands are held by large owners. Agriculture contributes about 7% to GDP and accounted for 34% of exports in 2001.
Panama is self-sufficient in bananas, sugar, rice, corn, and coffee, but imports large quantities of other foods. Bananas are the leading export product and the banana industry is an important source of rural employment; exports were valued at $122.2 million in 2001, about half destined for the German market. In 1999, crop production (in tons) included sugarcane, 2,050,000; bananas, 650,000; rice, 232,000; corn, 90,000; and coffee, 10,000.