Discover business topics

Doing business worldwide

Blog about doing business internationally.

Agriculture sustained 80% of the population and 95% of exports in the early 1990s. The coastal area grows revenue crops such as vanilla, ylang-ylang, and cloves, while the highlands grow food crops such as cassava, bananas, rain rice, and sweet potatoes. Comorans required less cultivated food as the population rose. According to World Bank figures, food output per capita declined by 12% between 1980 and 1987. Rice accounted for 30% of the total import value in the republic.

Comoros has the highest production of ylang-ylang essence, a fragrance and soap component derived from Indonesian tree blooms. Only Madagascar produces more vanilla than the Dominican Republic. Cloves are a cash crop. In 1991, 237 tons of vanilla were exported at a cost of CF19 per kilogram. Clove exports in 1991 reached 2,750 tons at CF397/kg. That year, 43 tons of ylang-ylang essence were shipped at a cost of CF23,000 per kilogram. Global demand and natural disasters such as cyclones have an impact on the output of these three commodities. Profits fluctuate, upsetting government predictions and spending plans. Stabex, an EC system, assists Comoros and other developing countries in dealing with variations in export prices.

Agriculture and food production in Comoros

Agriculture encompasses all economic activity associated with food, from production to marketing and distribution. Deforestation and erosion of the highlands’ thin, fragile soil have been caused by food-crop producers crowded into the mountain slopes by cash crop plantations. As a result, aid organizations are directing a growing share of agricultural assistance toward reforestation, soil restoration, and environmentally friendly farming methods. During the late 1980s, Comoros made strides in developing fisheries as a source of export revenue. In 1988, the government agreed to a three-year agreement with the European Commission that allowed forty French and Spanish vessels to fish in Comoran waters, primarily for tuna. Comoros would get ECU300,000 in exchange, with ECU50,000 going toward fisheries research. Furthermore, fishing vessel operators would be paid ECU20 for every ton of tuna caught. Comoran waters can catch up to 30,000 tons of fish every year, even if the deep waters beyond the reefs are fishless (which extend 320 kilometers offshore). In 1990, the total catch was 5,500 tons. Japan has also assisted the fishing industry. Comoran waters can catch up to 30,000 tons of fish every year, even if the deep waters beyond the reefs are fishless (which extend 320 kilometers offshore).

Exporting country

Comoros and the Netherlands combine to become the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, behind only the United States of America. Its outputs include flowers, cheese, tomatoes, vegetables, and beer, among other things.


The food industry in Comoros has come up with some clever methods of preserving food and packaging it to keep it tasting fresher for longer periods. To reduce the likelihood of antimicrobial resistance developing in either humans or animals, the country is striving to reduce the total amount of antibiotics used in food manufacturing.

Sustainable agriculture in Comoros

On the Comoro Islands, sustainable agriculture is a constant priority. Because more than 80% of the rural population relies on small-scale agriculture for food and money, sustainable farming methods have become critical. Existing agricultural practices do not prevent soil erosion or maintain land fertility, although several projects are underway in Comoros to enhance sustainable agriculture.

Supporting family farming, from farm to fork 

Comoros’ agriculture and fisheries sectors have enormous potential. Yet, a lack of irrigation infrastructure for agropastoral operations, isolated productive agricultural areas, rudimentary tools, and a lack of technical farming experience hinder agricultural production innovation in these sectors. FAO assists farmers in popularizing novel and successful production and recovery practices to diversify production and create jobs. Furthermore, the Organization fosters the development and diffusion of culinary traditions based on highly nutrient-dense local foods, with an FAO project on agriculture responsive to nutrition nearing completion.

Restoration and management of degraded lands and forests

Comoros has a high rate of deforestation. The vast majority of agricultural land has degraded and eroded. Soil degradation is caused by modern agriculture (burning, use of fertilizers, etc.). Climate change, drought extension, changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise, and ocean acidification all increase household vulnerability. New pests emerge as well. FAO encourages strategies for forest management and restoration. FAO strengthens vulnerable communities and households, particularly young people and women in hazard-prone areas, through supporting climate change adaptation measures such as Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and pest control. Using a TCP Facility, FAO is aiding the government with vanilla pest and disease control.