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Economy, Agriculture

sisal, commodity prices, tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, rice production

Because of the mountainous terrain, only 4 percent of Madagascar is farmed. The chief food crop is rice, which is grown on about one-half of the agricultural land. Since the early 1970s imports of this staple food have been necessary to meet needs, and the primary objective of agricultural policy in the 1980s was to increase rice production. An end to sale and transportation controls, coupled with higher yields, had diminished the need for rice imports in the 1990s. Other important food crops are cassava, sweet potatoes, potatoes, maize, beans, bananas, and peanuts. Leading cash crops, which supply most of Madagascarís export revenue, are vanilla, coffee, cloves, and sugarcane. Coffee once was the primary crop, but production declined as commodity prices dropped sharply. Other important crops are cotton, sisal, and tropical fruits. Livestock in Madagascar included 10.3 million cattle, 850,000 pigs, and 1.3 million goats in 2001.

Article key phrases:

sisal, commodity prices, tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, rice production, staple food, cassava, bananas, peanuts, agricultural land, goats, mountainous terrain, cloves, beans, s imports, Livestock, pigs, maize, sugarcane, cotton, coffee, cattle, sale, end, needs


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