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Agriculture has been declining as a proportion of The Bahamas economy since its apogee. The sector was strongly impacted by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, implemented in the United States as a protectionist solution, which has resulted in Bahamian agricultural products (mainly pineapple, tomato and citrus) being outsourced to United States territories. For example, the United States increased its production of pineapples as a response to the increase in the cost of importing them.
Today farming and agro-industrial production are carried out on relatively minute acreages on nearly all islands, and are of a relatively subsistence nature. About 1% of the land area is cultivated.
Main agricultural products
Export-oriented orange, grapefruit, and cucumber production occurs on Abaco. Agricultural products in 2004 included 55,500 tons of sugar cane, 13,000 tons of grapefruit, 8,700 tons of lemons and limes, 5,000 tons of tomatoes, and 880 tons of sweet potatoes.
Among steps the government has taken to expand and improve agriculture is the reserving of 450,000 acres (1,821 km2) exclusively for farming, of which 20,000 acres (81 km2) were converted to fruit farming.
The government also launched an Agricultural and Marine Sciences Institute on the island of Andros, to promote the study in agronomic, agro-industrial and subsistence fields. To date there has been little success in buttressing the agricultural production, which is expected to be a very gradual process.