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Smith College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania


This study is an examination of how women participate in agriculture in Samoa as farmers and growers, what hardships women encounter and how they overcome these, and the organizations that influence people’s experiences. Censuses have historically undercounted the number of women in agriculture in developing countries, largely due to rigid international definitions of what counts as labor, which overlook cultural nuances, and this study aims to fill this gap in research. Data was collected through nine Talanoa-inspired interviews with women involved with farming or growing in Samoa, and overarching themes were analyzed. The themes have been grouped by the specific challenges they present, and how participants overcome these difficulties in order to achieve success in the agriculture industry. These include: cultural perspective, financial difficulties, time constraints, lack of knowledge, market access, health and imported food, and climate concerns. This study attempts to bring attention to important challenges and the many success stories that were reported during this research. Women face a series of challenges as farmers and growers in contemporary Samoa; however, they overcome these through assistance from NGOs, their communities, and their own enterprise.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Economics | Agriculture | Food Studies | History of the Pacific Islands | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies


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