||Agriculture plays an important socio-economic role in Suriname. It generates 11-12% of national employment, 6-7% of the GDP, and more than 12% of total export earnings. In the past thirty years the performance of the sector has been erratic, showing a slowdown pattern in agricultural growth during the 90s and slow recovery at the beginning of the past decade. As a result, in 2010 the national agricultural output was still below the level reached in 1991. During this period, cultivated area shrank by 33%, physical yields of traditional agricultural sub-sectors stagnated, and as a whole the sector showed a low rate of growth in total factor productivity (TFP of 1% during the period 2001-2007, which is half the average LAC rate during this period). In this setting, the Government of Suriname (GoS) acknowledges that a revitalized, more productive, and diversified agricultural sector will contribute to reducing macro-economic uncertainty by insuring against downside risks and external shocks, improve food security, and provide opportunities for employment and income generation that will help to alleviate poverty in rural areas where about 50% of Surinamese live.
Key priorities of the Government include increasing the production of banana and rice and improved production of other crops geared for export with this being driven through the private sector, followed by horticultural production (small-scale, but knowledge and capital intensive), and estate crops such as oil palm and sugarcane (large scale, capital intensive / foreign investors).
National initiatives are being taken to achieve an adaptation of existing concepts and tools to include food production in the interior of Suriname. This aims to protect the Surinamese forestry, which is 95% of the total area of Suriname.
In order to improve the agroforestry production in the interior and protect the forest, the production system should be adopted. Local communities and public sector stakeholders require technical assistance in facing these emerging challenges.