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Coconut Based Farming Systems In Vanuatu

Coconuts are the single most important crop in Vanuatu. They are a major source of food and the primary, and in many instancjes only source of cash income for the over 22,000 rural households in Vanuatu. At the nati onal 1evel, copra conti nues to be the mainstay of the economy. While a key feature of most farming systems in Vanuatu, it is only now that efforts are being undertaken to understand more fully how these systems function. The need for intersification of existing systems function. The need for intensification of existing system is clear. Population and land pressure is rising, farmers' are showing an increased interest in cash cropping, and the real price of copra is in long term decline. It is. however, argued that efforts made at enhancing the productive capability of these systems can only succeed if they are grounded in a thorough understanding of farming systems and reflect farmers' expressed problems and needs. This can only be obtained by the active participation of research and extension agencies with the farmer at every stage of intervention development. If our efforts are to benefit the needs of the many thousands of poor households dependent upon these systems, then we must be truly beneficiary orientated.

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