Monday, March 23, 2009

Koko Samoa: an ingredient for an organic economy

Greetings from Samoa. What a beautiful place to be! I am hear as part of a joint team working to understand better how to integrate traditional farming systems, conservation of biodiversity and international trade.Quite a challenge, especially given all the failures of the past to sustainably assimilate these at time divergent aspirations. However, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn, compare and start a fresh in this new paradigm of change.Samoa has a unique cocoa industry in which the tradition of consuming cocoa has become an integral part of the daily life for Samoans both here and those living in around the world. Koko Samoa, a roasted and crushed cocoa paste, serves as a daily beverage ad a substitute for tea and coffee, as well as sweet rice breakfast dish and many a desert.

Comparing the Samoan cocoa experience to the rest of the Pacific nations such as Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, in which cocoa is still only regarded as an export crop, will indeed make for interesting analysis. What I have learnt to far, is given the complex structure of the local industry in relation to diverse products and local markets....It is the farmers who control the price of cocoa in Samoa. Now when last did we see a situation where farmers are price makers and not price takers.

Interesting indeed, with more to follow, but definitely an aspect of an organic economy that should be investigated in more detail.

1 comment:

  1. For too long, Pacific Island farmers have not only had their overseas' markets/prices manipulated unfairly, but PIs have been held to ransom regarding cheap (and expensive) inferior imports (including diesel) without being offered more sustainable and viable renewable energy technologies that will augment a value-adding opportunity for the benefit of not only cocoa Samoa plantation farmers, but coconut plantation farmers as well. I like this Plantation Politics emerging.