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Economy of Madeira

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The banana is, after tourism, the second great resource of Madeira, far in front of the famous wine which brings back three times less. The few 1,300 ha of banana plantations dispersed to the extreme produce a small and delicious fruit which is sold the continent of course and in the European Union. Madeira also specialized in the tropical fruits, a profitable production which one also hopes to export towards the European Union at advantageous prices: pineapple, mangos, lawyers (will peras abacates), guavas, figs, citrons, Chinese bananas and fruits of the passion (maracujas) from which one extracts a juice (sumo) very appreciated.

. Click to enlarge the image.The cane with sugar, imported of Sicily in 1452, was a long time the principal culture of the island. Today, the production is almost completely used to manufacture liquors and the syrups which one adds to the wines. By measurement protectionist (and to limit the devastations which could cause the ill-considered absorption of terrible the aguardente or brandy of cane), only a wine grower can have a plantation. The size of this one is moreover obligatorily proportional to the surface of its vineyard.

The boroughs of the coast live sparely of a fishing remained very artisanal. According to the seasons, the catches off Madeira are the tuna, the espada (swordfish of an alive brilliant black in deep water of the pits, often with more than 1,000 m), the cachalot (in Câmara de Lobos and Oporto Moniz) and, of course, the sardine, the mackerel or the mullet.
The craft industry
Agriculture and fishings are not enough to make live the inhabitants of the campaigns and the artisanal activity thus occupies people in residence, the women particularly. Created in the middle of the 19th century by English, Phelps Miss, the lace of Madeira had much success in London and made extraordinary great strides quickly. Gremio back Exportadores de Bordados do Madeira, which controls this true industry using 30000 embroidering-machines, opened schools where all subtleties of this art are taught as of more the young age. Today, the workshops are still held by English, but they export 80% of their production towards Italy.

Basket making brings back a million dollars per annum, and its principal center is Camacha. Many villages of the interior also cultivate the wicker which one sees drying, in great beams, in front of the doors of dilly-dally. When they are quite dry, the branches are boiled during hours to give them flexibility necessary. In winter, when time does not make it possible to be devoted to the cultures, they will be used to make baskets, stools, deckchairs, pieces of furniture of garden.

That one is fishing or farmer, in Madeira, the life remains hard for the greatest number. Europe is far, even if for a few years the money of Brussels “has run with floods”, giving rise to some Pharaonic works which one does not know how they will improve the living conditions of the population. One perceives better, however, the consequences of these projects on the environment, the major asset of this small island.

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