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Vegetable crops in Guadeloupe



Geographical location of the Guadeloupe archipelago

The Guadeloupe archipelago is located between 16° and 18° North and between 61° and 63° West. 6 main islands divide the 1780 km² of emerged land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea: the 2 main islands are Basse-Terre (848 km²) and the island of Grande Terre (588 km²), separated by a narrow inlet, the Rivière Salée; the outbuildings are the closest islands with Marie-Galante, Les Saintes and la Désirade.



Temperature and humidity conditions favorable to high parasite pressure all year round

The climate of Guadeloupe is of the island tropical type, subject to the trade winds bringing the ambient humidity around 80% all year round with temperatures around 20°C at night and 30°C during the day. The global climate is marked by heavy, irregular rains, more intense during the hot season from June to November or cyclonic season, than during the slightly cooler dry season known as "Lent", during which 30% of the precipitation falls.


A contrasting relief very influential on the climate

The relief contrasts the steep volcanic slopes of Basse-Terre with the plains of Grande-Terre and Marie-Galante, revealing numerous microclimates and a great variability in rainfall. With average levels of annual precipitation around 2,000 mm on Basse-Terre and 1,500 mm on Grande-Terre, a precipitation gradient appears, ranging from 10,000 mm / year on Soufrière, the highest point of Basse-Terre. Terre (1,467m), just 900mm on the eastern end of the island of Grande Terre. The outlying islands have precipitation levels that are often insufficient to allow agricultural production, except in Marie Galante where sugar cane and dry peas grow (2/3 of Guadeloupe production).


A varied agriculture dominated by traditional crops

Agriculture covers a third of the surface of Guadeloupe, with the main production being export crops such as bananas and sugar cane. Schematically, the cultivation of sugar cane is found on Grande-Terre and that of bananas on Basse-Terre, illustrating the difference in soil and water regime.


On Grande-Terre, clay soils derived from coral limestone formations

The pedology of Grande Terre is mainly composed of vertisols formed on a source rock of coral limestone type at very localized variable depth. Plains and hills accommodate large meadows and cane up to 70% to 80% of the agricultural area. The rest is occupied by market gardening and melon cultivation, the third export crop made possible thanks to the irrigation network which extends to the municipalities in the north and east of the island.


On Basse-Terre, the volcanic relief determines the type of culture encountered.

The "banana crescent" extends from the North-East to the South of the island. The cooler and wetter climate in the heights of the volcanic slopes favors off-season market gardening from June to December. The Andosols and rusty brown soils of the South offer a "natural fertility" contrasting with the more acidic ferralitic soils with alluvium-colluvium of the center and the North of the island; the latter less steep often require liming and have a large proportion of cane as well as some pineapple, market gardening and food crops. The leeward coast to the west is drier and has little agriculture; all the same, the orchards and emblematic productions such as christophine, coffee, vanilla, cocoa are concentrated in the South-West.


A diversification sector that is struggling to develop

Despite a desire to expand local diversification channels, which are not competitive with the import market, these remain confined to small areas. The diversification sectors (market gardening, fruit, food, horticultural, aromatic and medicinal) are all possible specializations for producers who are organized by production basin into GIE (Economic Interest Grouping) or SICA (Society of Collective Interest Agricultural) to meet local demand. A few large specialized and well-mechanized producers share the market, to which are added a multitude of small farmers in market gardening or polyculture cane/market gardening. Thus 2% of producers can make up to 80% of local production.

Last change : 07/21/22
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