Farming Demands Heavy Investment

Cuban agriculture has withered for decades under a policy framework that requires cooperatives to sell goods to the state at fixed prices. The system ensures a steady income for farmers, but it also deflects investment. Farmers operate with antiqued or failed machinery. Lack of hard currency means that spare parts are impossible to find. Fortunately, Havana has begun to roll out some reforms. Farmers can now sell surplus crops to the tourism sector. But wholesale change is unlikely until the United States lifts it embargo. Those overseas investors looking at agriculture will need to be patient. The time required to recover capital investment may prove excessive. Without government incentives, most potential sources of capital are likely to see opportunity cost, rather than investment return.

Learn more at the BBC

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.