For years economists have ignored the diversity in agriculture and its potential to increase long run growth rates by enhancing a country's knowledge base. Non-traditional agriculture requires significant investments in the infrastructure and knowledge; and therefore, has the potential to increase long run growth rates. Policy makers in developing countries have tended to enact macroeconomic policies designed to enhance the manufacturing sector at the expense of the agricultural sector. A theoretical model is developed to explain the dynamics between two non-traditional export sectors and the long run economic growth of the country. The model illustrates that growth in highly perishable agricultural exports, not domestic production of manufactured goods, can potentially lead to higher long run growth rates. The model is applied to the fruit and flower industries in Colombia to bring forth an example with real world relevance. ©1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.