Phosphate-containing guano covers 4/5 of Nauru, and the
economy is entirely based on phosphate extraction. Since
independence in 1968, Nauru itself controls the revenue from
production. According to
countryaah, agriculture is possible only in the very narrow
lowlands along the coast, and the yield covers only a small
part of the food demand. The most important products are
coconuts, pineapples, bananas and vegetables as well as pandanus nuts (Pandanus is a related screw palm).
Fishing has been of local importance only, but the state has
started investing in modern sea fishing.
In addition to food, fuel, building materials, drinking
water and oil, as well as machinery and transport, are
mainly imported for phosphate extraction. Exports are
exclusively phosphate, which mainly goes to South Africa,
Germany and India. Part of the phosphate income is set aside
in a national investment fund, and the state buys land and
real estate in, for example, Melbourne and London as well as
securities to secure the economy before the day when
phosphate ends in the country. Nauru is dependent on
financial support from mainly Australia.
Another important source of income is the refugee camps
established by Australia in 2001 at Nauru.