Sustainable agriculture in American Samoa is a long-term project but is making major headway in the region. The land and agricultural abilities of American Samoa are quite limited. However, with isolation from the rest of the world and a lacking capability to be interconnected with trade, it is necessary that American Samoans are able to make use of the land they have.
Discovered in the early 18th century, the archipelago sits between Hawaii and New Zealand. According to the CIA World Factbook, the total population in American Samoa is 51,504, spread out among seven islands.
Several sustainable agriculture projects in American Samoa are conducted through three organizations:
- Western Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE)
- Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
SARE reports that several projects in western American Samoa have been extremely successful. The American Samoa community college network attended many different courses during the past year, in which they learned about sustainable development and ways the school system can educate local farmers about options for more sustainable agriculture in American Samoa.
One of SARE’s major focuses during the courses was to teach farmers about food safety. Several of the points made revolved around the improvement of soil health, effective and integrated insect control and proper crop selection. SARE provided many opportunities, and sustainable farming and agricultural improvement in American Samoa is on the rise with the knowledge SARE provided to the college system.
Women in Business Development Inc.
WIBDI is helping build sustainable agriculture in American Samoa. One of their newest investments is the growth of organic farming groups. Small villages have been training grounds for a new group of farmers who focus on making sustainable choices possible with American Samoan land.
According to their website, WIBDI is in the process of teaching 600 American Samoan farmers to become certified organic farmers. They are taught how to work in a more economically beneficial way. The goal of the operation is to create a completely insecticide-free environment and to increase the ability of farmers to export goods like coconut oil, dried bananas and skincare products. Through smart business investments and a growing organic community, WIBDI is building a more agriculturally friendly community.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture’s NIFA is the third of the organizations involved in American Samoan sustainable agriculture. According to their website, they specialize in the organization and regulation of farming in American Samoa. Sustainable agriculture in American Samoa is growing because of the regulation of crop rotation, grazing rotations and water quality, among other things.
The American Samoan people are working to build a self-sustaining ecosystem within their small territory. NIFA is dedicated to observing and helping grow a more institutionalized organic market for food production and conservation.
Sustainable agriculture in American Samoa is growing steadily, although there has been instability in the climate as of late. Organizations like SARE, WIBDI and NIFA, among others, are assisting in the growth of the American Samoan economy.
– Molly Atchison