transit zone, Panamanians, subsistence farming, important products, bananas
Agriculture employs one in four Panamanians, but much of that labor is absorbed in subsistence farming. Panama’s productivity is too low to export many agricultural goods. The only crops sold abroad are bananas, coffee, and sugar, which is protected by a U.S. quota system. Among the more important products are fruit, corn, rice, timber, some vegetables, and livestock. A large percentage of these goods are processed in towns and cities outside the transit zone. Panama imports cereal and fresh vegetables.
In 1994 agriculture grew at a rate of 3.9 percent, more slowly than industry and services. Principal problems facing the rural sector are concentration of land ownership in the hands of few farmers, high labor costs, and low levels of mechanization on all but the largest farms. Some 7 percent of the land is cultivated, with another 20 percent used for grazing.
Article key phrases: