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Economy, Agriculture

Mobutu, tsetse fly, cotton lint, manioc, Congo Basin

Agriculture, including forestry and fishing, employs 68 percent of the working population and accounts for 58 percent of GDP. However, only 3 percent of the country’s area is under cultivation. Large areas of the Congo Basin are suitable for farming but are currently covered with forests. Cash crop production declined markedly after Mobutu nationalized foreign-owned plantations in the 1970s, and again during political disturbances in the 1990s. Much of the farmland has reverted to subsistence farming. The principal food crops are manioc, plantains, sugarcane, maize, peanuts, bananas, rice, and yams. Cash crops include coffee, palm kernels, cottonseed and cotton lint, and rubber. Chickens, goats, pigs, and sheep are raised. Cattle raising is confined to elevated regions that are free of the tsetse fly, which spreads sleeping sickness.

Article key phrases:

Mobutu, tsetse fly, cotton lint, manioc, Congo Basin, subsistence farming, Cash crops, plantains, cottonseed, bananas, peanuts, goats, sickness, maize, pigs, sugarcane, rice, forestry, fishing, rubber, coffee, spreads, accounts, Large areas


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