Economics

What Are the Major Natural Resources of Dominica?

he Dominican economy is considered vulnerable by different economic experts due to various challenges facing the nation.

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Dominica is a 290 square mile nation situated in the Caribbean. The Dominican economy is considered vulnerable by different economic experts due to various challenges facing the nation. In 2017, the Dominican gross domestic product was roughly $562.5 million which at the time was the 180th highest in the world according to estimates from the World Bank. The Dominican economy is reliant on several natural resources such as its beautiful scenery and the arable land.

Natural Scenery

Dominica's most important natural resource is its scenery that attracts huge numbers of tourists to the country. Some of Dominica's most attractive sites are its beaches with some of the most well-known beaches being the Champagne Beach, the Mero Beach, and Batibou Beach. Other beautiful areas in the country include hiking trails such as the Laudat trail and the Trafalgar trail. Tourists also visit Dominica to take advantage of a large number of diving spots. In order to increase the number of visitors to the country, the Dominican government has put in place several measures to conserve the country's natural ecosystems. Besides, the Dominican government has urged the private sector to increase the number of hotels in the country to raise the nation's tourist capacity. The government also has focused on developing its cruise industry which is essential to the Dominican economy since the tourists on cruise ships spend vast amounts of money in the country. Despite the vast improvement in the Dominican tourism industry, it is considered underdeveloped in comparison to the tourism sectors of other nations in the Caribbean and does not have any of the world famous hotel chains. The country receives about 200,000 visitors every year out of which 75,000 are stayover guests, and the revenues generated from the sector in 1999 was $49 million.

Arable land

The Dominican government estimated that in 2014, roughly 8% of Dominican land was considered arable. Dominican farmers grow a variety of crops such as coconuts, grapefruits, and bananas. In 2013, the Dominican government estimated that the agricultural sector contributed roughly 16% of the country's gross domestic product. The Dominican labor department estimated that in 2002, approximately 40% of the Dominican labor force was employed in the agricultural sector. The Dominican agricultural industry is significantly affected by the country's weather patterns. Apart from the weather, the Dominican agriculture sector is also affected by the fluctuating prices of global prices of agricultural commodities. Policies implemented by Dominica's trading partners such as the EU also affect the Dominican agriculture sector. The Dominican government has attempted to diversify its economy in an attempt to reduce its reliance on agriculture.

Bananas

Since the colonial era, bananas have been vital to the Dominican people. The British government convinced the Dominican farmers to abandon other crops in favor of growing bananas in order to satisfy the demand of the British people for the fruit. The Dominican climate was well-suited to the growing of the crop, and for a time Dominican banana farmers were hugely successful. However, Dominican banana farmers became less successful after two American companies entered the market. The American companies were soon the most dominant force in the global banana industry which reduced the income Dominican banana farmers earned from the crop. Other significant challenges that face the Dominican banana sector is diseases that reduce the number of bananas harvested in the country. In the 21st century, the Dominican banana industry has continued to decline significantly, and the government has attempted to implement several policies to revive the country's banana industry.

Livestock

Dominican farmers keep a wide variety of livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats. The Dominican government estimated that in 2001, the livestock farmers in the country kept roughly 540 cows, 5,000 pigs, and nearly 10,000 sheep. In the same year, the country produced roughly 1,300 tons of meat as well as 6,100 tons of milk. Despite the vast quantities of livestock products produced in Dominica, the nation does not produce enough to meet the needs of the local people, and the government is therefore forced to import more to satisfy the local demand. The Dominican government partnered with the Venezuelan government to improve the Dominican livestock sector.

Fish

Due to its position within the Caribbean Sea, Dominica has vast quantities of fish resources. The Dominican people consume large quantities of fish and it forms a significant part of their cuisine. Before Hurricane David hit the country, the Dominican fishing sector employed more than 2,000 people. During this period, Dominican fishers caught nearly 1,000 tons of fish each year which satisfied roughly 33% of the local demand. Hurricane David had a huge impact on the Dominican fishing sector as it led to destruction of roughly 500 fishing vessels. In the 21st century, the Dominican fishing industry had recovered, and in 2000, Dominican fishers caught roughly 1,150 tons of fish. The Dominican government partnered with the Japanese government and the Taiwanese government to improve the country's fish farming sector.

Minerals

Dominica has minimal deposits of minerals such as clay, sand, and limestone and the country's mining industry has not contributed significantly to the country's economy. However, the Dominican government believes that the country's mineral industry has the potential to contribute more to the economy since the northeastern section of Dominica is believed to have significant deposits of copper.

Forest Resources

Data indicates that roughly 57.77% of Dominica's territory was covered in forests. In 1990, the country had roughly 66.67% of the territory being covered with forests, Dominica's forest cover has been declining due to the exploitation of trees in the country.

Water Resources

One of Dominica's most critical natural resources is water mainly because it is used to generate hydropower. The Dominican government has encouraged the development of the country's hydropower sector to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels. The country has three hydro power plants located along the Roseau River, which generate about 27.4% of the country’s electricity demand

Economic Challenges

The Dominican economy faces some challenges primarily its overreliance on the agricultural sector. The high poverty rate among the Dominican people is also a significant challenge facing the country.

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Dominica?

Dominica is rich in natural resources including arable land, livestock, fish, minerals, forests, water, and the nation's beautiful scenery.

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