Agricultural products are wheat, millet, Indian corn, pulse, arrowroot and many varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Besides fruits of nearly all kinds there are cultivated in the low moist regions the sugar-cane, the tea, coffee and tobacco plants, arrowroot, cayenne pepper, cotton, &c. The area under sugar in 1905 was 45,840 acres and the produce 532,067 cwt.
The bread-fruit, sago, banana, vanilla, ginger, arrowroot and curcuma grow wild.
The underground stems (rhizomes or tubers) are rich in starch; from that of Arum maculatum Portland arrowroot was formerly extensively prepared by pounding with water and then straining; the starch was deposited from the strained liquid.
Oranges, lemons, grapes, passion fruit, figs, pine-apples, guavas and other fruits grow abundantly; while potatoes, onions, maize and arrowroot can be cultivated.
There is a governing body chosen from among the islanders, the constitution of which has been altered more than once owing to internal jealousies, &c. The island produces sweet potatoes, yams, melons, bananas and other fruits, arrowroot and coffee.
The natives use no grain or pulse, but make a kind of bread (mandrai) from this, the taro, and other roots, as well as from the banana (which is the best), the bread-fruit, the ivi, the kavika, the arrowroot, and in times of scarcity the mangrove.
Among the food-giving plants are rice - the staff of life to the majority of the Malagasy - in many varieties, maize, millet, manioc, yams,;sweet-potatoes, arrowroot, which is largely used by the western tribes - as well as numerous vegetables, many of them of foreign introduction.