Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Islands Studies


This focus of this paper is the role that coconut products have played in Samoa’s cash economy, past and present. This paper begins with a brief history of the use of coconut products in Samoa before independence. Next, the decline of the copra and copra oil industries in the 1980s and 1990s is highlighted, and several causes for this decline are explained. The current roles of coconut products such as copra oil, virgin coconut oil, whole coconuts sold locally, coconut cream, coconut shell handicrafts, and coconut wood are then analyzed. Specific attention is given to the potential role of copra oil as a bio-fuel alternative to imported diesel fuel, and to the expanding export-oriented virgin coconut oil industry. The products’ current contributions to Samoa’s economy are presented, and important research currently being done on coconut products is also analyzed. Finally, this paper’s conclusion focuses on the future of these industries, and what needs to be done to ensure that the coconut tree’s potential economic benefits are reaped in the years to come.


Agricultural and Resource Economics


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