plantation agriculture, arable land, reform program, oilseeds, peasants
Some 27 percent of El Salvador’s land is cultivated, and 12.1 percent more is used for plantation agriculture. Agriculture accounts for only 10 percent of the GDP but 42 percent of the country’s exports. Coffee is the most important export crop, as it has been for more than a century, but other crops include sugarcane, corn, rice, beans, oilseeds, cereals, vegetables, fruits, beef, and dairy products.
Most of the country’s valuable farmland is controlled by a few wealthy Salvadorans; about 1 percent of the landowners control more than 40 percent of the arable land. A reform program in the 1980s redistributed some land to peasants, but large-scale export agriculture still prevails. With this emphasis on growing crops for export, and El Salvador’s dense population, the country is not able to grow enough to feed its people and must import food.
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