The folloing is extracted from the book: Asian Development Bank (1985) Western Samoa Agriculture Sector study. Volume II. Background and sector review.
In October 1980, the Asian Development Bank approved a second loan, part of which was for WSTEC’s development, consisting of replanting of 400 ha of the oldest coconut provision of fertilizer for an additional 1,518 ha of coconut, planting of 400 ha of cocoa (Amelonado) under younger coconut, application of fertilizer in about 718 ha of cocoa, upgrading of existiong buildings and construction of additional structures a coconut stem utilization plant, construction of new roads and rehabilitation of existing roads, consultants and support for activities other than tree crop cultivation. The total lending for the tree crop plantation related activities was about US$4.5 million.
In 1979 the World Bank approved US$8.0 million under an IDA credit for the development of WSTEC estates in Savaii. The total cost of the project was US$20.5 million, with co-financing by the Australian Government (US$5.4 million), UNDP (US$1.7 million), the Japanese Government (US$1.4 million) and the EC Special Fund (US$0.3 million). The project consisted of investments for nurseries, imported improved planting material and field development of about 1,000 ha of coconut 5,260 ha of cocoa and about 80 ha of coffee in WSTEC estates and selected villages of Savaii, plus other activities of WSTEC not related to tree crops.
Until recently, copra was the main coconut product in Western Samoa. Since 1982, a coconut oil mill has been in operation to extract crude coconut oil from copra. A small amount of charcoal is made by villagers from coconut shell for domestic use only. Production of coconut is generally measured by the amount of dry copra exported. The amount of coconut and copra consumed domestically is not known with any accuracy, and various estimates exists. One such estimate is based on the assumption of an average consumption of 0.5 coconut per person per day, for all persons above 10 years of age, giving an annual average consumption of 3,864 mt of dry copra equivalent. Other estimates are as high as two to three coconuts per person per day. The conservative consumption figure of 0.5 coconut per person per day has been generally accepted, perhaps not because it is more reliable but because of the implications of the other estimates. Uncollected coconuts which remain on the ground germinate or are eaten by rats and pigs and have been estimated at 16-25 percent. After making appropriate adjustments for domestic consumption, wastage and exports, the average annual production is estimated at about 24,000 mt. The current levels of productivity in the copra industry are low by world standards, averaging about 6000 kg per ha. This is due to several factors, including senile plantations, poor cultural practices, lack of fertilizers, failure to remove the old trees under which the new stand has been planted and failure to collect the crop on time. Many of these constraints could be removed by an effective extension service.
SMALLHOLDERS COCONUT SEEDNUTS SUPPLY SCHEME
From 1966 to 1977, the Government ran a coconut replanting scheme under which about 4.45 million seednuts were distributed to farmers. Rather than replanting, most of the seedlings were used for new plantings. These new plantings were not properly managed agronomically. It is estimated that about 21,000 ha of these areas now exist and are yielding at the rate of about 750kg copra per ha annual. This yield from fully mature young plantations is considered too low, and the benefit from the replanting scheme would appear to have been mostly lost.
FAO/UNDP HYPRID COCONUT PROJECT
A project to establish a hybrid coconut garden was started in 1977 using an area of about 16 ha. The project also provided for plant protection services, including a laboratory, insectary and plant house complex. The hybrids developed were based on Malayan Red and Yellow Dwarf mother palms crossed with Rennel Tall. The project is producing hybrid seeds that are currently being used for replanting on WSTEC lands. From 1986, the production of hybrids have been planted with local talls on three locations in controlled experiments for comparison. These are about four years old now and, although no scientific assessment has yetbeen completed, it is obvious from visual observation that the hybrid plants are producing almost at the rate of 50 or more nuts per palm per year as compared to no fruit set yet in the local talls