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New Caledonia Travel Guide

St. Joseph's Beach
Big dugout canoes line St. Joseph's Beach
on the Isle of Pines.

Agriculture and Fishing

Agriculture represents just 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product. Beef cattle raising has long been the most important monetary agricultural activity, consisting mostly of large herds kept by Europeans on the west coast. Venison is exported to Europe. Pig and prawn farming are well developed, and there's scallop fishing in the north. Tuna is the most important fish catch, while farmed shrimp are the territory's second largest export.

Among the Kanaks, yams are the main subsistence crop, followed by taro, manioc, and sweet potatoes. Coffee, introduced in the first days of French colonization, is still grown here today, mostly the robusta type.

Only 4 percent of Europeans work in agriculture, compared to 60 percent of Kanaks, yet two-thirds of the arable land is controlled by 1,000 French settlers with large estates. Land remains a basic issue in New Caledonia as a Melanesian land-using culture continues to find itself confronted by a European land-owning culture.

Continue to   Economy: Tourism   »