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Economy, agriculture and food security
In 2013, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was US$ 14 362 million and agriculture accounted for 7 percent of GDP. In 2013, total population economically active in agriculture is estimated at 208 000 inhabitants (17 percent of economically active population), of which 27 percent is female and 73 percent is male.
The agricultural sector has experienced numerous challenges resulting in a decline in output and direct contribution to GDP largely due to increased trade liberalization, competition and low productivity. But it represents a critical component of Jamaica’s national development as an important contributor to GDP, employment, foreign exchange earnings and rural livelihoods. Due to an overall decline in public sector activity, funding for agriculture is projected to be limited to those areas of public good, such as research for smallholder crops, regulatory controls, etc.
Most of the foreign exchange in Jamaica is from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina mining.
Jamaica has greater resilience and potential for food security than most other Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as local substitutes for imported staples are widely produced and farmers have implemented successful coping and adaptation mechanisms at the farm-level through damage reducing strategies.
The top imported foods in 2011 by quantity include maize, wheat, soybeans cake, non-alcoholic beverages, and raw sugar. The top exports from Jamaica include raw sugar, barley beer, alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic beverages. The main traditional export crops include sugar, bananas, coffee, citrus, cocoa and pimento.
The major trade agreements impacting agriculture include the European Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN), the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), and the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME).
Large farms are generally located on the plains while small farmers occupy the hillsides.