Agriculture in Samoa
About two-thirds of all households in Samoa depend on a mixture of subsistence agriculture and cash cropping . The main export products, in order of importance in the late 1990s were copra (dried coconut flesh), coconut oil, copra meal, coconut cream, and kava (a mildly narcotic drink traditional to the South Pacific). The importance of coconut products is obvious, but unlike many Pacific countries that only export copra, Samoa has added value to these products. For example, coconut cream canned in Samoa is worth several times its equivalent in copra. The vulnerability of dependence on a crop such as coconuts was illustrated when cyclones in 1990 and 1991 caused considerable damage to tree crops.
During the 1980s, Samoa identified an international niche market for taro, a traditional prestige root crop. The taro exported from Samoa was sold mostly to Samoan and other Pacific communities and, in 1992, made up more than one-half of all agricultural exports by value, surpassing the cyclone-depleted coconut products. In 1993, taro blight destroyed the whole crop, however, and by the late 1990s taro production was only beginning to recover.
In recent years, the government and international aid donors have been promoting agricultural diversification. Although there have been small amounts of other food crops exported (such as bananas), the only crop that has generated significant export income is kava, which has recently gained an international reputation as a soothing and therapeutic substance. Other agricultural products currently being promoted include cattle and tropical fruits.
Samoan Farmers Association (SFA)
PO Box 1241, Apia, Samoa
Contact Person: Afamasaga Toleafoa
Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) – www.womeninbusiness.ws
Kingdom of Tonga
Tel: +685 21959
Contact Person: Faumuina Felolini Tafuna’i
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