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Dominican Republic: Agriculture
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Agriculture


Agriculture, the backbone of the Dominican economy for centuries, declined in significance during the 1970s and the 1980s, as manufacturing, mining, and tourism began to play more important roles in the country's development. During the 1960s, the agricultural sector employed close to 60 percent of the labor force, contributed one-quarter of GDP, and provided between 80 and 90 percent of exports. By 1988, however, agriculture employed only 35 percent of the labor force, accounted for 15 percent of GDP, and generated approximately half of all exports. The declining importance of sugar, the principal source of economic activity for nearly a century, was even more dramatic. Sugar's share of total exports fell from 63 percent in 1975 to under 20 percent by the late 1980s. The transformation in agriculture paralleled the country's demographic trends. In 1960, some 70 percent of the country's population was rural; by the 1990s, upwards of 70 percent was expected to be urban. Government policies accelerated urbanization through development strategies that favored urban industries over agriculture in terms of access to capital, tariff and tax exemptions, and pricing policies. As a consequence, the production of major food crops either stagnated, or declined, in per capita terms from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s. Lower world prices for traditional cash crops and reductions in the United States sugar quota also depressed the production of export crops in the 1980s.

Data as of December 1989

Last Updated: December 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Dominican Republic was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 57 of 128


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