Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Comoros?

Comoros has limited natural resources.

Comoros is an island country situated on the Indian Ocean. The nation is comprised of three main islands and several small islands. It is one of Africa’s smallest nations. The three principal islands of Comoros are Grande Comore, Mohéli, and Anjouan. They occupy a combined land area of 718 square miles. Comoros is among the poorest nations in the world. The main reason for its poverty is that the country is found in an isolated region and has few natural resources. Some of the major natural resources of Comoros are arable land, water, forests, beautiful landscapes, and biodiversity.

Arable Land

The islands of Comoros have significant sizes of arable land. It is estimated that 45% of land in the island country is suitable for agriculture, which is the biggest industry in the country. More than half of Comoros nationals work in the agricultural sector. Additionally, the industry provides most of the foreign income earned from exports. However, the sector has extremely low productivity rates. Close to 60% of people who practice agriculture are small time producers. These small farmers have small parcels of land where they grow crops and rear animals. They also use inefficient farming techniques that result in low productivity. Only 20% of agricultural producers in the Comoros Islands do it on a large scale. The large-scale producers apply modern techniques in farming. The big agricultural producers export their produce to neighboring countries. The crops largely grown in Comoros are bananas, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, coconuts, peppers, coffee, sugarcane, jasmine, cloves, and vanilla. Comoros is one of the largest exporters of the vanilla plant. The country also exports large quantities of ylang-ylang which is used worldwide in manufacturing perfumes.

Water

Comoros Islands are situated in the Indian Ocean. The islands have plenty of water resources all around them. The water is useful in the fishing industry which employs more than 4,500 people in the country. The industry plays a crucial role in the economy of the island nation of Comoros. Most of the fishing is done by locals who use small traditional boats particularly for domestic use only. Since the late 20th century, the Comoros government permitted international fishing vessels to conduct industrial fishing in their maritime territory. The foreign vessels paid a fee to the fishing industry of Comoros. The big fishing vessels harvest fish for the international markets. The fish mainly found in the Comoros waters include tuna, mackerel, cuttlefish, anchovies, and swordfish. The island country lacks fish-processing facilities, and as a result, fish caught by the big fishing companies is processed outside the Comoros Islands. The country is constructing a tuna-processing facility to boost the fishing industry. Despite the water resource, fishing is a largely unexploited industry in Comoros.

Forests

Comoros has large unexploited forests as part of its natural resource. The forests are old and indigenous to the island nation. The country experiences a tropical climate which is favorable for the forests to flourish. Comoros forests are important resources in the country, and they provide a safe habitat for the numerous wild animals in the island country. The forests also accommodate rare plant species, which are endemic to the islands. Comoros forests are also useful for their medicinal plants. Timber is another commodity obtained from Comoros forests. The trees in these forests are harvested to supply timber to Comoros and neighboring countries. The trees are also useful in the papermaking factories, and the local communities in Comoros collect firewood from the large forests. In recent times, the forests have diminished due to several factors such as rapidly increasing population which has resulted in clearing the forests to create space for farming land. Harsh climatic conditions have also led to destruction on forests.

Beautiful Landscapes

Comoros Islands are endowed with many beautiful scenes. The country has a wide variety of geographical features such as mountain ranges, flat plains, sandy beaches, and volcanic regions. All these beautiful landscapes make Comoros a wonderful place to visit. The country’s beauty is a key tourist attraction. Visitors could take a hike up the Karthala Volcano or a walk on the Chomoni Beach. Other magnificent sites in Comoros are a series of rock formations referred to as Dos du Dragon and the breathtaking Dziancoundre Waterfall. Although the country has a huge potential in tourism, the country has not invested much in the sector. Nonetheless, a few tourists still visit the island country and contribute foreign income to the nation. Some Comoros residents who guide the tourists also earn a living from the industry.

Biodiversity

The biodiversity in Comoros is part of its natural resource. Comoros has a wealth of unique plants and animals. The islands of Comoros exist in a relatively isolated region, and as a result, these places have preserved their indigenous plants and animals. The country has over 820 marine animal species and about 100 bird species. More than one thousand insect species are found in Comoros. The country also has some of the oldest living creatures on earth. Some parts of the country have not been explored and therefore have stayed in their original state. However, the biodiversity of Comoros is threatened by changing climatic conditions and the rising human population on the island. Conservation groups have established systems to protect and preserve the rare plants and animals species found in the country.

Management of Natural Resources in Comoros

The natural resources in Comoros contribute to economic development in the country. However, the island country still has one of the weakest economies in the world. The scarce natural resources in the country are difficult to manage. Comoros lacks the technology and infrastructure needed to exploit its resources. As a result, the country does not reap the full benefits of its natural resources. Instead, foreign nations with advanced technologies benefit from these resources. Comoros is a relatively young nation and therefore does not have proper policies on management of natural resources, and this often leads to mismanagement of resources. Additionally, the natural resources in Comoros face the threat of changing climate. To help in the management of natural resources, Comoros uses local communities and the people of Comoros are encouraged to protect and conserve the country’s natural resources.

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