Agricultural Fundamentals in the Pacific

 This post takes a look at some of the macro-level fundamentals of agriculture in the Pacific. I adapted the useful table below from an upcoming LRD-SPC food security report. It gives a good picture of the significance importance of agriculture in total GDP. In 5 states: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati and Timor L’este (not an SPC member), agriculture plays a very significant role –exceeding 30% of GDP in the 1990s and in 2000-2008. For Fiji and Samoa as well as Tonga the share of agriculture was significant but fell markedly in the period. The definition of agriculture here includes forestry and animal husbandry.

The annual growth rate of the agricultural sector is shown below. Between the period of the 1990s and 2000-2008 it declined 7 states out of 10 for which there was data and increased for the remaining 3 which were Solomon Islands, Tonga and Kiribati. Growth in the sector became negative for Fiji, Samoa and Tuvalu.

 The next graph shows percentage of total land area which is arable. There are large differences between the proportion of arable land and proportion of GDP from agriculture in some cases. The differences between the two may reflect the importance of forestry and non-crop sources of income that lie in the definition of ‘agriculture’ in these tables; mostly in Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands and to an extent in Vanuatu. For Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands we see a much higher proportion of arable land at around 20%.

 All charts were taken from the following table.

Note: Blank cells mean no available data.  Sources for the table are:

Arable Land: SPC. 2008. Land Use Planning in the Pacific. Noumea. ( )

GDP 2010 and Agriculture share of GDP 2009: Asian Development Outlook 2011. Manila: ADB. 

Agriculture growth and in GDP: Source: ADB. 2009. Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2009. Manila. a 2008 (


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