Agriculture in Suriname plays a secondary role in the economy, employing around 12 percent of the workforce. Only 0.4 percent of Suriname's total land area is cultivable, with half of this devoted to rice production, which makes up around 10 percent of Suriname's total exports, with 180,000 tons produced in 1999. The banana industry also accounts for 2.5 percent of total export revenues, with 55,000 tons produced in 1999. Suriname also produces palm kernels, coconuts, sugar, plantains, peanuts, beef, chicken and shrimp. In the 18th century the production of coffee was of major importance under the Dutch colony but has gradually declined.
Since 1945, the Commission for the Application of Mechanized Techniques to
Agriculture in Suriname has successfully brought new land under cultivation and
redeveloped old plantations and improved the total agricultural production.
Under union pressure, the government in early 1987 agreed to a national sugar
plan to make production more efficient, and to create employment. The sugar
industry is of major note in Guyana,
especially the operations of Guyana Sugar Corporation since 1976,
with 90,000 tons produced in 1999.