Climate Smart Agriculture
in American Sāmoa

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach developed by the FAO aimed at helping guide actions to reorient agricultural systems to ensure food security and effectively support sustainable communities and livelihoods in a changing climate. It is not a new technique, it is an approached used to identify food production systems and strategies.

CSA is based on three main objectives:

  • Sustaining and increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in food security, farm incomes, and sustainable communities and livelihoods;
  • Adapting and building resilience of agriculture and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).
Changing rainfall patterns, sea level rise and other types of climate variability such as increased frequency of storms and extreme weather events each are climate stressors that are amplified by ENSO and contribute to flooding in the Pacific Islands. Flooding poses the greatest risk in American Sāmoa.

Flooding Challenges

  • Water saturated, or flooded, soils threatens crop yields and can delay planting.
  • Salt water intrusion limits fresh water availability, and can damage plant roots and crop yields.
  • Soil loss can occur due to heavy rain events.
  • Contamination of water ways may occur due to agricultural run-off from heavy rain and flooding.

Flooding Responses

  • Increase organic matter in the soil for better drainage.
  • Develop, adopt and plant more flood and salt tolerant crops (i.e. salt tolerant sweet potato).
  • Adjust planting dates in response to weather forecasts to avoid wet conditions.

On-Going Projects at ASCC ACNR

Ian Gurr at the podium

Salt Water Taro Project:
Adapting to sea level rise and value-added crops

There are various on-going projects at ASCC ACNR to develop and promote climate resilient crops such as salt tolerant taro through experimenting with different growing techniques (i.e. hydroponics),  taste testing different varieties of local crops including nutrient rich leafy greens and finding ways to add value to traditional food crops. 

One way of promoting climate resilient crops is the research and development of salt-resistant taro crops for food sustainability.

Farmer Spotlight: Edward Avegalio

Hydroponic Haven

Edward Avegalio is a veteran who served in Operation Desert Shield in the 1990s. Returning to his homeland in Pavaiai, American Sāmoa, he recreated his family farm to be the first hydroponic farm in American Sāmoa and is breaking ground by providing lettuce and tomatoes using a “drip vertical stack method” that increases the farm’s acreage and provides Avegalio with accessibility. The farm also provides herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, and parsley.

Contact Info:

Reducing Emissions

DJ Sene and Clay Trauernacht state that agriculture and natural resource management can reduce emissions along multiple pathways:

  • Sequestering carbon in soils by increasing soil organic matter;
  • Sequestering carbon above ground through tree crops and reductions in deforestation;
  • Reducing nitrous oxide emissions through improved fertilizer management;
  • Reducing methane emissions by managing manure and irrigated wetland crops;

DJ argued that while agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas it is also a vital part of mitigating climate change.

View the Powerpoint Presentation for more information.

Contact Us!

Do you know of anyone in your community who is fighting climate change by incorporating climate smart agriculture into their farm or research? Contact Clay ([email protected]) or Patricia ([email protected]) about it!