In the 1980s, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had a relatively weak economy relative to their neighboring countries, which is very dependent on the world market for a few goods and the influx of tourists.
Agricultural employment has declined sharply, but its importance to the economy remains. Exports mainly consist of agricultural commodities. As in the neighboring islands, bananas are the most important crop and account for 1/3 of export earnings. Other important crops and export goods are coconuts, sweet potatoes, vegetables, arrow root (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are the world’s largest producer) and spices.
The fairly small industry that exists mainly deals with the processing of agricultural products. With the help of foreign aid and loans you try to build up the industry. In addition to the food industry, there are, for example, the textile industry, cardboard factory and shipyards for leisure boats. Tourism has developed strongly in recent times, but is not of the same importance as in most other Caribbean states. According to Countryaah, the country’s most important trading partners are Trinidad and Tobago.
Tourism and gastronomy
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have no significant tourism, but it is under development. The country’s infrastructure is poorly developed, and the beaches of Saint Vincent volcano mainly have dark sand, which is not always attractive to tourists. These amount to about 100,000 annually, plus about as many sailors and cruise passengers, who visit Kingstown, which has America’s oldest botanical garden and two cathedrals. The area south of the capital has some beach tourism, while the island also offers exciting nature with tropical rainforest, beautiful waterfalls and the active volcano Soufrière in the north. For sailors, the Grenadines with their many small islands is a popular destination.
The islands diet has influences from all over the world. The Arawak Indians came with corn, sweet potatoes, cassava and chili, the African slaves with, among other things, the mallow plant okra. The Indians’ preference for curry stews and the British crab for cakes have left their mark. The Arrow Root is part of the pastry-type pastry. The breadfruit leaves its mark on bread, soups and stews. Otherwise, seafood dominates: mackerel, red snapper, crabs, which are filled with hot chilli stews, and crawfish that are grilled and served with citrus fruit. Sheep stew, preferably with liver, stomach and other inner foods in the company of pimiento, garlic and cloves, is one of the islands’ specialties.