Agriculture in Vanuatu

According to the Asian Development Bank, agriculture is more important to the Vanuatu economy than it is to any other Pacific economy, since it does not have the same mineral and forestry resources like its neighbouring countries. Throughout Vanuatu, subsistence agriculture is the mainstay of the village economy, since 80 percent of the population lives in villages. Food crops produced include taro, yams, kumara (sweet potato), bananas, coconut, and a great range of fruit and vegetables.

The most important agricultural product, in terms of cash production in the villages and in terms of export, is copra. This is the dried flesh of coconuts, produced by individual households and on large-scale plantations. Production of copra is highly variable year to year depending on weather conditions and world prices, although a general downward trend in production is noticeable since the early 1980s. One explanation is that the price in real terms paid to producers has declined over this period.

After copra, the second most important agricultural product by value is beef. Vanuatu is the only significant beef exporter in the Pacific, and this accounted for about 10 percent of all exports by value in the late 1990s. Cattle are often raised under coconut trees and serve both as a source of income and as a means of keeping plantations clear of weeds. The main export markets for beef have been Japan and the neighboring countries of Melanesia.

Two other crops that have increased in value recently are kava and squash. Kava, which is made into a drink that induces relaxation and mild euphoria, is a traditional crop that has recently been commercialized. The success of Tonga in securing a niche in the Japanese squash market caused other Pacific nations to look at this as a potential new crop. Vanuatu was one of the first to start squash production, but it is too early to determine whether this will be a successful case of agricultural diversification.

Fish are an important food source in most parts of Vanuatu. However, commercial exploitation of fish is much less than in neighboring countries, considering the large area of ocean within Vanuatu’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Vanuatu does, however, receive some income from royalties paid by offshore fleets fishing within its EEZ, especially Taiwanese and American. The catches of these offshore fleets are landed mainly in Fiji and American Samoa, so relatively little employment is generated within Vanuatu from these activities.

Cattle farming in coconut plantation

National FO’s

Cocoa Growers Association (CGA)
Contact Person: Basile Malili

Farm Support Association (FSA) | Syndicat Agricol Pastural Vanuatu (SAPV)
PO Box 17, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Contact Person: Peter Kaoh

Rural Training Centers

  • Napil
  • Navota
  • Vainduhu

Syndicate Agricole du Vanuatu

Vanuatu Spices Network

Women’s Groups

  • Nakula
  • Baha’i
  • Lawia
  • Lamak 1
  • Lamlu
  • Tevaliout
  • Tahi
  • Brenwei
  • Larvat
  • Botindir
  • Pinalum Van 1
  • Pinalum Van 2
  • Pinalum SL
  • Orap

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