American Samoa Report
Summary of 2013 state/protectorate PDP Activities and Results
During October 21 – 28, Mr. Daniel O’Doherty, President of Cacao Services, Inc., Honolulu, HI, visited the Territory to access the potential of cacao (Theobroma cacao) as an export crop. He was co-hosted by the American Samoa Community College Community and Natural Resources Division’s Western SARE-PDP and the AS Dept. of Agriculture. Mr. O’Doherty visited several plantations and met with growers. On October 23 and 24, he presented two workshops. The first was on sustainable tree production; the second on chocolate production. Mr. O’Doherty informed the agricultural agents and the producers that American Samoa had a few legacy tree varieties that had the potential of producing premier quality chocolate. Based on this assessment, the AS Dept. of Agriculture included expanded cacao production in the government’s five-year economic development plan.
For the poultry mini-grant, Drs. Ian Gurr and Michael Otto Hansell did a demonstration using 45 Cornish Rock broiler chickens that were raised for seven weeks. One group was fed a commercial broiler feed (22% protein), one group was fed a locally produced feed (22% protein) of breadfruit, fishmeal and vitamin/mineral supplement, another group free range. The commercial group was the heaviest, followed by the local feed and then the free range.
Context and Overview
As the only institution of higher education, the American Samoa Community College’s Cooperative State Extension service staff plays a pivotal role in sustainable agriculture outreach. Together with researchers in entomology, plant pathology, horticulture, agroforestry, and soil/water, they work in partnership with staffs from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, American Samoa Dept. of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, and Coral Reef Advisory Group. Such partnering allows all agencies to make the most efficient use of their limited resources.
Activities and Methods
July 8 -11 Annual PDP meeting, Davis, CA.
October 23 Cacao tree pruning, fertilization, and care workshop.
October 24 Cocoa bean fermentation and chocolate production workshop.
January 16 Mini-grant (poultry fed production demonstration)
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
See report: “Cocoa in American Samoa, Evaluation and Recommendations, 28 October 2013.”
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Intention and Action
Both producers and agriculture professionals learned that a realization of exporting cocoa beans will require much work and cooperation, since several acres of trees are required in order to ferment a batch of beans. For instance, none of the existing trees had been properly pruned or spaced. Instead, traditional agroforestry practices have been used, i.e., multicrop plantations with random plantings. Rather than export, O’Doherty recommended much can first be done to meet the local demand for koko Samoa, an unsweetened, high cocoa butter product sold in a Styrofoam cup that is usually peeled and dropped into hot water.
In spite of O’Doherty’s recommendation, the AS Dept. of Agriculture intends to promote cocoa production as a potential export crop. Local producers and entrepreneurs may exploit the greater production acreage and cheaper labor found in (Western) Samoa and use American Samoa as the port of export.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
Gathering a quorum of uncompensated members has always been a problem with establishing a working advisory committee. Ideas for workshops and other training venues for sustainable agriculture come from solicitations by the State Coordinator to CES staff and researchers at the American Samoa Community College. Input is also sought from staff at NRCS, USFS, ASDoA, ASEPA, and NPS. When possible, such as with the cocoa workshops, we invite a partner (ASDoA in this case) to serve as co-host.