Sugar cane remains a major contributor to the Mauritian economy. In 2003 it was cultivated on 85% of the arable land by 28 000 planters, with most planters being smallholders. One in three rural families is directly or indirectly involved in the sugar industry. Annual sugar production averages 575 000 tonnes of which 507 000 tonnes are exported to the EU under the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - European Union (EU) Sugar Protocol, the Special Preferential Sugar Agreement, which provides a guaranteed price well above the world market price. The share of the sugar industry in the Mauritian economy has dwindled from 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 1970s to about 3.5% in 2003, but still represents about 19% of foreign exchange earnings.