Samoa - Agriculture
Tropical agriculture occupies 43% of the land area, employs about 65% of the labor force, and makes up about 50% of GDP. Most Samoans grow food crops for home consumption and cash crops for export. Village agriculture, in which the family is the productive unit, involves the largest areas of land, occupies the preponderance of the labor force, and produces the major portion of food and cash crops. Coconut products, cocoa, taro, and bananas are produced for export, and bananas, taro, and taamu are grown for local sale. Village plantings are invariably mixed, containing some or all of the following crops: coconuts, cocoa, bananas, taro, taamu, breadfruit, sugarcane, yams, manioc, and various fruits. Plantation agriculture has been controlled mainly by non-indigenous residents.
Exports of unprocessed copra have been largely replaced by coconut oil, coconut cream, and copra cake. Due to a decline in world prices, coconut production fell to 95,000 tons in 1992. In 1999, coconut production was estimated at 130,000 tons. Taro (coco yam) production in 1999 amounted to 37,000 tons. Taro production dropped 97% in 1993/94 due to leaf blight, and the government is working on methods to control the disease. Exports of cocoa have fallen in recent years, thereby discouraging production. Since 1991, no production over 1,000 tons has been reported. Banana exports fluctuate greatly from year to year. Exports of agricultural products in 2001 amounted to $5.1 million, while agricultural imports totaled $17.7 million that year.