Seychelles - Agriculture

Agriculture and forestry have limited importance for the Seychelles, accounting for just 3.2 percent of GDP in 1999 and providing employment for 7 percent of the labor force (including fisheries). The country produces copra, cinnamon bark, and tea for export in very small quantities and depends on the world prices on these products. The country exported 214 tons of cinnamon bark and 236 tons of green leaf tea in 1999. However, it has to import cereals and some other foodstuff in order to meet the consumer needs of the local population and tourists. During the last few years there was an attempt to expand fruit and vegetable production for the local market. The government has also invested considerably in forestry in order to increase the country's lumber resources for domestic consumption.

Fishing is an important sector of the Seychelles economy. The country's exclusive economic zone extends 320 kilometers (200 miles) beyond its coastal area, which provides control of over 1 million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) of the Indian Ocean. The local population is engaged in catching fish for local consumption and for export while the government benefits from licensing fishing in its territorial waters and from payments by foreign vessels. In 1987 the first tuna-canning factory was opened in the country. Exports of canned tuna have been growing steadily, from SRe169 million in 1996 to SRe541.5 million (US$102 million) in 1999. The prawn-producing sector expanded rapidly in the early 1990s with its exports reaching SRe34.1 million (US$6.5 million) by 1998. Liberalization and opening of the country's economy attracted some foreign investments in the 1990s. In 1995 the U.S.-based H. J. Heinz Company established control over the tuna-processing plant and pledged US$15.4 million in investments and 900 jobs.

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