The role of Agriculture in Bolivia in the economy in the late 1980s expanded as the collapse of the tin industry forced the country to diversify its productive and export base. Agricultural production as a share of GDP was approximately 23 percent in 1987, compared with 30 percent in 1960 and a low of just under 17 percent in 1979. The recession of the 1980s and unfavorable weather conditions, particularly droughts and floods, however, hampered output. Agriculture employed about 46 percent of the country's labor force in 1987. Most production, with the exception of coca, focused on the domestic market and self-sufficiency in food. Agricultural exports accounted for only about 15 percent of total exports in the late 1980s, depending on weather conditions and commodity prices for agricultural goods, hydrocarbons, and minerals.
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“But the nomads were the terror of all those whom the soil or the advantages of the market had induced to build towns. Agriculture therefore was a religious injunction, because of the perils of the state from nomadism.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)