Economy of Guadeloupe

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The economy of Guadeloupe depends on agriculture, tourism, light industry, and services. It also depends on France for large subsidies and imports.

Tourism is a key industry; an increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands. The traditional sugarcane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, and flowers. Other vegetables and root crops are cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is still dependent on imported food, mainly from France. Light industry features sugar and rum production. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the young. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.


Primary industries


In Guadeloupe, agriculture constituted 6 percent of GDP and employed 15 percent of the work-force in 1997, which equaled approximately 120,000. The main crops are sugarcane & bananas. Large sugar plantations that produce for both export and local consumption purposes continue to dominate. Sugarcane is grown on western and central parts of Grande-Terre due to its flat lands and rainfall of 1500 to 2500 mm. & on northeast section of Basse-Terre. There are rum distilleries to produce rum from sugar. Bananas are grown mainly on the

Animal husbandry

Cattle, goats, pigs & poultry are raised for local consumption and provided most of the requirements of animal products. The rearing of animals is done both on Grande-Terre & Basse-Terre.


Offshore fishing is a traditional source of food, and the main catches. By the end of the 1990s, 11 fishing farms were registered in Guadeloupe and experiments are under way to catch and market fish in order to respond to growing demand. The 1997 catch was 10,518 tons, mainly marine fish with some small amounts of crustaceans and molluscs.



In 1997, industry in Guadeloupe constituted 9 percent of GDP and provided employment for 17 percent of the labor force. Major industrial activities include sugar refining, rum distilling, food processing, cement and brick manufacture, mineral water bottling, beverage making, chemical making, textile manufacture & electronics assembly. Jarry has an industrial free-port.

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