Engine of the Nicaraguan economy

Historically called "The breadbasket of Central America", Nicaragua is renowned for its tropical climate and fertile soils ideal for agricultural and forestry use. The combination of fertile soil available at competitive prices, the favorable climate conditions and the abundance of hydric resources, provide the perfect scenario for the establishment of agricultural production investments.

 

Industry highlights 

  • Coffee trading in over 50 markets worldwide
  • Main cigar exporter in Central America
  • Largest producer of livestock and beef in Central America
  • Acknowledged as fine and flavor cocoa producer by ICCO
  • Fourth largest exporter of shellfish to Europe in Latin America (#1 in Central America)

At a glance

15.5%

of GDP

US$2,549.4

million exported

+US$21

million invested

66

companies operating under the Free Trade Zones System

251,797

Direct and indirect jobs 

Country exports

coffee

Coffee

beef

Beef

dairy

Dairy

peanut

Peanut

shrimp

Shrimp

beef-cattle

Beef cattle

lobster

Lobster

beans

Beans

sugar

Sugar

cigars-and-tobacco

Cigars and tobacco

Key sectors

 

Agro-exportable production

As an export model, Nicaragua offers a variety of products in international markets such as United States, European Union, Central America, Taiwan, and others. In addition, Nicaraguan products such as cocoa, coffee, rum, bananas and sugar have been recognized internationally for their high quality.

Livestock, dairy and meat production

Nicaragua has the largest cattle-raising industry in Central America. With a compound annual growth rate in meat exports of 2.5 percent and a 3.9 percent annual growth rate in milk stockpiling over the past 4 years, Nicaragua keeps its position as the main livestock, dairy and meat producer in the region. Furthermore, it has a pasture-based feedlot, which offers extremely competitive production costs in Central America. As a result, renowned Mexican companies such as LALA and SuKarne have successfully established operations with great expectations of growth.

In 2018, milk collection in pasteurized plants and other kind of plants such as milk powder and cheese processors reached 147 million gallons. This phenomenon indicates that there is enough raw material for processing a large variety of dairy products. On the other hand, over the last 10 years, beef has remained one of Nicaragua's largest export products, and this is expected to continue to increase.

Food processing

Nicaragua produces a diverse variety of raw materials that could be processed locally. Some of the products with higher potential are bovine meat, fruits, and vegetables, cocoa, coffee, sugar, corn, seafood, beans, plantains, among others. The country currently processes cookies, snacks, instant coffee, and carbonated drinks, beer, and rum.

Other opportunities with great potential in Nicaragua are the production of corn-based products, peanuts, cassava, cereals, baked goods, fried snacks, sweets, jams and marmalades, canned food, dehydrated fruits, sauces, pickled vegetables, and seasonings.

Forestry plantations

There are currently over 3.9 million hectares suitable for forestry plantations of commercial value, such as teak and mahogany and non-timber species such as rubber, cocoa, among others. To date, over 70,000 hectares of wood plantations have been established. Investments in this sector amount to US$150 million in the past six years and the already established companies have shown interest to continue to invest, considering the reforms to the incentives of Law 462.

The private sector’s plan is to achieve a critical mass of 120,000 hectares, thus, there are still plenty of investment opportunities, and the government’s support for such initiatives is evident.


Agribusiness companies

none
Cargill
none
SuKarne
none
Walmart
none
Lala
none
Ritter Sport
none
Bean & Co
none
Cacaoro
none
OLEOCARIBE
none
MLR
none
Ball

Other key industries

Light Manufacturing

The light manufacturing industry is an important economic engine and one of the most dynamic sectors of Nicaragua’s economy.

Outsourcing Services

Nicaragua is home to over 45 companies in the outsourcing sector, which export higher specialized services to destinations such as the United States, Canada, and Europe.