Olomanu Research Station
Ms. Laisene Samuelu Tuioti-Mariner
Samoan Tall Spicata (SMOT03)
Samoa is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as the Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans’ seafaring skills.
Coconut is the most predominant crop grown in Samoa. Its traditional value and multipurpose uses make it one of the most important crops in the everyday lives of Samoans as an important source of food and cash. In 1996, Samoa exported coconut food products such as coconut cream, copra, copra meal and coconuts, worth SAT 3.598M (US$ 1.3M). The Agricultural Census (1989) stated that 96% of farmers’ holdings grew coconuts, which bring to a total land area of 27,692 ha. In Samoa, one of the most important crop mixtures being identified is coconut intercropped with cocoa, the others being crops like banana and taro (Agricultural Census 1999). However, due to global price fluctuations of coconuts, there is a need to upgrade and improve approaches in coconut farming and encourage adoption of new production and processing technologies to enhance farmers’ incomes.
Under a COGENT-supported project, farmers’ coconut varieties were characterized, documented and conserved on farm. A farmer participatory survey was conducted in Siufaga Savaii where seven varieties were identified. These varieties include the Samoan Tall (SMOT), Samoan Tall Samatau (SMOT01), Niu Vai Tall (NVIT), Niu Afa Tall Samoa (NAFT), Niu Lea Dwarf Samoa (NLAD02), Samoa Yellow Dwarf (SYD) and Samoan Tall Siufaga Savaii (SMOT03). A 1.22 ha coconut germplasm conservation site containing 11 local coconut varieties has been established at the Olomanu Seed garden (Osborne 2005).
More info: Conserved coconut germplasm from Samoa (2.6MB)
Collaborative Activities between BIOVERSITY/COGENT and Somoa
1. Capacity Building
a) Technical assistance/expert advice
From 1994 to 2001, four specialists visited Samoa on four technical assistance missions including assessing the country’s coconut R&D capability and assist the national programme in identifying common problems and opportunities for network collaboration; evaluating the progress of the ADB Phase 1 projects and identifying projects for ADB Phase 2 and IFAD-funding; developing a cost and return analysis protocol for ongoing and future intercropping experiments and training local staff to use the protocol; and documenting conserved germplasm and farmers’ varieties on the island
b) Training and human resources development
From 1996 to 2001, three local coconut researchers have undergone staff development training sponsored by COGENT on topics such as the STANTECH; farmer participatory research; computer use, documentation and data analysis; technical/ proposal writing and seminar presentation; and embryo culture techniques.
c) COGENT meetings/workshops
In 2000, Samoa was host to the ADB/IFAD-funded Coconut Research Projects meeting held in Apia.
2. Research Projects
Four projects have been carried out in the country, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest, Fisheries and Meteorology as the implementing agency.
3. Financial Support and Funding
Donor funding support for projects in Samoa amounts to US$55,000, mostly from ADB, APCC and IFAD; while national government counterpart financing amounts to US$52,581.