Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua (República de Nicaragua), is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The capital, Managua, is the country’s largest city and the third-largest city in Central America.
The nation is primarily an agricultural country. Agriculture constitutes 60% of its total exports which annually yield approximately US $300 million. Nearly two-thirds of the coffee crop comes from the northern part of the central highlands, in the area north and east of the town of Estelí. Tobacco, grown in the same northern highlands region as coffee, has become an increasingly important cash crop since the 1990s, with annual exports of leaf and cigars in the neighborhood of $200 million per year. Today most of its bananas are grown in the northwestern part of the country near the port of Corinto; sugarcane is also grown in the same district. Cassava, a root crop somewhat similar to the potato, is an important food in tropical regions – cassava is the main ingredient in tapioca pudding. The agricultural sector has benefited because of the country’s strong ties to Venezuela. It is estimated that Venezuela will import approximately $200 million in agricultural goods. In the 1990s, the government initiated efforts to diversify agriculture. Some of the new export-oriented crops were peanuts, sesame, melons, and onions.
Mining is increasingly becoming a major industry in Nicaragua, contributing less than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).