|Cape Verde - Economy|
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Farming, the main economic activity, is severely limited by the small annual rainfall and extensive soil erosion; about 90% of the country's food must be imported. Cape Verde has considerable underground reserves of water, but extraction has proved too costly. The main crops are bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, coffee, tomatoes, peanuts, and sugarcane. Goats, hogs, cattle, and sheep are raised. Tuna and lobster are the main catches of a small but potentially rich fishing industry. Salt is extracted and there are unexploited gypsum deposits. The islands' manufactures are limited to processed food, beverages, clothes, and footware. Mindêlo is an important coaling station for ships, and transatlantic flights are serviced at an airport on Sal.
The islands carry on a small foreign trade, mostly with Portugal and other European Union countries; the annual cost of imports is usually much higher than export earnings. The main imports are petroleum, foodstuffs, consumer goods, and machinery; the leading exports are fish, bananas, hides, and salt. Remittances from emigrants living in the United States, Portugal, and Africa constitute an important supplement to the islands' economy.