Agriculture has historically been the backbone of the country and it will probably continue to so for a long time. Land in Nicaragua is presently the lowest in the region but also the most arable in Central America. The volcanic ash and minerals in the region have produced a soil that can grow the best pineapple you'll ever taste. : ) In total seriousness, the 8.9 million acres of volcanic loam soil and large underground water reserves make farming the ideal permanent industry for the country. The main agricultural export products are coffee, cotton, bananas, peanuts, sesame seeds, melons, and onions. There is potential to grow stuff like chili, tobacco, and medical base plants for export. Small-time farmers grow a wide variety of edible fruits such as papaya, pineapple, and tangerines to sell domestically.
Click here to see a picture of a fertile field.
Many people believe that cattle ranching could also be very profitable since there are 3.2 million acres of suitable land and 9 rainy months each year. But for some reason, meat here is usually as tough as shoe leather and about as tasty. Conspiracy theorists believe that this fact is due to the improper use of livestock grazing techniques and that the use of modern technology could eradicate the problem. The government is working to improve the quality of grazing pastures and genetic stock and establish programs to improve productivity.
The Nicaraguan government would like for international groups to invest in mining the countries gold and silver reserves and the industry has almost doubled since 1994. There are modern laboratories and trained personnel available and there is an estimated 3.8 million ounces of gold and 4.9 million ounces of silver reserves. There are several gold and silver mines which need to rehabilitated, but metals such as titanium, copper, lead, and magnesium have the potential to be mined.
Nicaragua, with its 130,000 square kilometers of continental waters and marinas, has the most extensive marine resources in Central America. The potential for shrimp farming is 1/3 of all of Central America and Panama's production. Nicaragua currently generates 13.7 million dollars annually in shrimp farming. There is a lot of potential to harvest lobster and scalefish for export and the various lakes in Nicaragua, given the local climate, make freshwater fishing a very viable alternative.