Saint Kitts and Nevis is a country found in the West Indies. In 2017, the country's GDP was ranked as the 171st highest in the world at about $946 million by the World Bank. Its per capita GDP, on the other hand, was ranked as the 42nd highest in the world at $17,090. The Nevisian economy is dependent on the country's natural resources which include arable land, the country's beautiful scenery, and fish among others.
In 2014, the arable land in the country covered approximately 19.23% of the country's total land area. Between 2011 and 2014 the size of arable land in Saint Kitts and Nevis remained relatively constant. The agriculture industry in Saint Kitts and Nevis is one of its most vital sectors and it contributed approximately 3.5% of the country’s GDP in 2001. In 2005, the agriculture sector contributed $12 million to the GDP of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Some of the most important crops cultivated in Saint Kitts and Nevis include sugarcane and peanuts which are mainly grown for export. Some of the crops grown for local consumption include yams, vegetables, and rice. The Nevisian agriculture sector faces numerous challenges such as the high price of farm inputs and the fluctuating prices of agricultural commodities in the international market. The government of Saint Kitts and Nevis has adopted several measures to diversify the country's agriculture sector to ensure its growth.
One of the most important crops in Saint Kitts and Nevis is sugarcane which is mainly grown for the production of sugar. Most of the sugar produced in Saint Kitts and Nevis is sold to other nations such as the US and countries in the EU. Nevisian farmers have grown sugarcane for a long time since the British introduced the crop. The country achieved peak sugar production during the mid-19th century. Although the country's sugar industry declined towards the end of the 19th century, it was still one of the major employers in the country. It was estimated that in 1897 the country's sugar sector employed almost 15,000 people. In 1975, the government put in place a plan to nationalize the country's sugar estates, and in 1976, the government purchased the sugar factory. From 1986 to 1989, the amount of sugar produced in the country decreased, and the government partnered with a British company to improve the country sugar sector.
Farmers in Saint Kitts and Nevis keep different types of animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats. In 2001, the Nevisian government estimated that there were more than 14,000 sheep and 14,400 goats. Data from the government indicated that about 3.86 square miles were dedicated to be a growing pasture for animals. In 2005, the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis estimated that the country's livestock farmers had produced approximately 149,914 pounds of pork and 187,390 pounds of beef. The production of beef decreased while the production of pork increased. Some of the most significant challenges facing the country's livestock industry include natural calamities such as hurricanes and the fluctuating prices of products in the international market.
The territorial waters of Saint Kitts and Nevis are home to a wide variety of fish species such as barracuda, kingfish, and snapper. The fishing sector is vital to the economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis and it contributed approximately $3.8 million to the country's GDP in 2005. One of the most important types of fishing in Saint Kitts and Nevis is demersal fishery which employs the highest number of people in the country. Some of the equipment used in demersal fishing includes spear guns, hand lines, and fish traps. Most of the demersal fishing takes place at a depth of 30 to 600 feet. Another important type of fishing in Saint Kitts and Nevis is coastal pelagic fishing.
The government estimated that coastal pelagic fishing employed about 10% of the country's fishermen and used 3% of the country's vessels. Despite the low number of people employed in this type of fishing, it accounted for 40% of the fish caught in the country. The most common type of vessel used in coastal pelagic fishing in Saint Kitts and Nevis is beach seines. Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a popular sports fishing destination, and several companies have been set up to cater to a large number of sports fishers who visit the country.
Data from the World Bank showed that forests covered roughly 42.3% of the Nevisian territory. The data also showed that from 2005 to 2015 the forest cover in Saint Kitts and Nevis had remained relatively constant. The most common type of forest in Saint Kitts and Nevis is tropical forests. Nevisian forests are important because they provide a home to more than 150 animal species, and about 1.3% of which are considered endemic.
The beautiful scenery of Saint Kitts and Nevis is one of its most important natural resources. Some of the most popular destinations in Saint Kitts and Nevis include the country's beaches, forests and nature trails. Some of the most popular beaches in Saint Kitts and Nevis include the South Friars Beach and the Turtle Beach. At the South Friars Beach, tourists can see several animals such as sea urchin and squid. Cockleshell Beach is popular with tourists because of snorkeling and water sports. Another popular tourist destination in Saint Kitts and Nevis is Brimstone Hill Fortress which has been listed by UNESCO as one of the world heritage sites.
The tourism industry is one of the most essential sectors in Saint Kitts and Nevis and it earns the country large sums of foreign exchange. The tourism industry was significantly affected by the hurricanes that hit the country during the late 1990s. Nevis Island was profoundly affected and its largest hotel was forced to close for six months which decreased the country's revenue. In 1999 the number of tourists who visited Saint Kitts and Nevis dropped by 15%.
Challenges Facing The Economy Of Saint Kitts And Nevis
The country’s economy faces several challenges such as the country's high levels of corruption. In 2018, some of the residents of Saint Kitts and Nevis organized a march to protest against the high levels of corruption in the country.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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