The traditional economy of La Gomera is similar to that of the other Canary Islands; agricultural produce for both local consumption and for export.This use of the land was developed after the colonisation of the island, and is based upon the location of springs and humidity in the centre of the island and is where crops now grow in the valleys and ravines. As a result, the population of the island is unevenly divided, being situated mainly in the main valleys to the north of the island.
Valle Gran Rey and Playa Santiago have only recently begun to be developed. The main crops are cereals and pulses (peas, beans, lentils, etc.), potatoes and fruit such as grapes. On irrigated land, the variety of crops has changed from sugar cane in the 16th and 17th centuries to tomatoes, potatoes, corn and bananas in modern times. During the 1960's cultivation on the island was threatened, firstly due to emigration and later due to the increase in transport costs, communication problems and the developing tourist industry, which is now the main economy of La Gomera.