About two-thirds of all households in Samoa depend on a mixture of subsistence agriculture and cash cropping . The non-monetary agricultural production of the country was estimated to comprise 17.7 percent of GDP in 1998, falling from 29.7 percent in 1992. This was partly a result of the growth of other parts of the economy, rather than a contraction of the subsistence economy. In 1998 non-subsistence agriculture and fishing
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. In 1998, kava exports were valued at WST5.5 million (US$1.8 million), a sum similar to the copra exports in that year. Other agricultural products currently being promoted include cattle and tropical fruits.