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During the 1970s the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) economy experienced an oil boom because of increases in the level and production of crude oil and in the price each barrel of crude oil fetched on the international market. In the late 1990s to the present, the T&T economy has benefited from another hydrocarbon boom. This paper traces the trends in export agriculture, sugar and domestic agriculture during the first and second oil booms. Using the falling share of labour employed in a sector as a reflection of de-industrialization, the analysis reveals that during the first oil boom all three components of the agricultural sector were de-industrialized although in the period until 1993 these same sectors showed clear signs of re-industrialization. During the second oil boom these agricultural subsectors were again de-industrialized, although in the case of sugar and domestic agriculture output per employed worker increased. The paper argues that given the likelihood of further hydrocarbon driven growth, the food security issue requires that efforts be made to preserve the output level of the domestic agricultural sector. The structural changes to the economies of the Caribbean over the last few decades has been phenomenal; there has been a substantial decline in the importance of the agricultural sector both absolutely and relatively, while the manufacturing, mining and tourism sectors has provided the impetus for growth and development. In no other Caribbean country has the fall off in agriculture been so marked as in Trinidad and Tobago; the only country in the region to possess significant oil reserves. However, it should be noted that this is a basis for concern, especially within the context of long term growth and food security.


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