Agriculture is big business in Panama. Not only does it account for much of the country's exports (over 50%), but subsistence farming still employs many Panamanians who only grow enough food to feed their families (nationalencyclopedia.com). The main crop in Panama is bananas by a large margin, and is also one of the countries largest exports. Besides bananas, the other main exports are sugar and coffee beans, while the largest domestic crops are corn, rice, cocoanuts, tobacco and the exotic root vegetable yucca (Bennett 78). In spite of the fact that agriculture employs a large portion of the population and uses approximately half of the land, agriculture in Panama is in trouble. Panama’s tropical maritime climate poses some restrictions to the growth of crops, but the troubling issue at hand is the erosion of soils. As Panama’s population grows rapidly and the rainforest is cleared, overuse of soils and improper agricultural methods are threatening the growth of crops and draining Panamanian soils. As much of Panama’s political history and current economy is tied to agriculture, this is an issue that will raise many questions for the future of Panama.
Bananas have a long history in Panama. Bananas are grown best in humid lowland regions, and in Panama, this means on the Atlantic side of the country (Bennett 70). Production does, however, extend to the Pacific side of Panama with successful irrigation methods (Bennett 71). United Fruit, an American company, moved into Panama in 1899, and owned as much as 70% of the Panamanian banana industry up until the 1970’s (country-studies.com). As bananas can count for as much as 33% of Panama’s total exports, very li...
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...e and thus crop yields are declining (Croat 465). To avoid an agricultural crisis, sustainable agricultural practices must be developed and implemented in Panama.
Bennet, H. (1926). Agriculture in Central America. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 16, No.2. pp. 63-84.
http://www.country-studies.com/. Agriculture. Retrieved 11/27/07 from www.country-studies.com/panama/agriculture.html.
Croat, T. (1972). The Role of Overpopulation and Agricultural Methods in the Destruction of Tropical Ecosystems. Bioscience, Vol.22, No. 8. pp. 465-467.
http://www.frommers.com/. Food and Drink. Retrieved 11/27/07 from www.frommers.com/destination/panama/3285020880.html.
www.nationsencyclopedia.com . Panama Agriculture. Retrieved 11/27/07 from www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/Panama-AGRICULTURE.html.
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