Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


The purpose of PRA is to reach an understanding of the main constraints, problems, objectives and resources that affect households. The approach has been very useful in identifying farmers’ needs and problems. Farmers and advisory officers consider PRA to be the most effective extension approach compared with other methods.

As its name implies, PRA encourages participation and contributions from all kinds of farmers (young, male, female, titleholders and non-titleholders). All the farmers involved in PRA programmes have equal opportunities to contribute by writing their ideas, which are then included in ranking and scoring sessions. Powerful and high-status farmers are therefore less likely to dominate the discussions. However, the Principal Advisory Officer reported that the inception of PRA in Samoa had been hampered by a lack of planting materials (especially for taro, owing to the blight virus), and the recruiting of inexperienced advisory officers.

The following discussion outlines four PRAs that were conducted on the island of Savai’i by the advisory officers. The main objective of these PRAs was to identify the major constraints facing agricultural activities, and the major pests and diseases encountered by farmers. These were organized into categories according to their importance, effects, severity, etc., and were then ranked from 1 (the most important) to 5 (the least important).


Tables 1 and 2 in Annex 2 show the main problems and the main pests and diseases, respectively, as reported by farmers in Sakalafai village. These were then categorized and ranked from most to least important, as summarized in the following subsections.

Major problems

1. No markets
2. Expensive chemicals
3. Shortage of planting materials
4. Pests
5. Diseases
6. Lacking knowledge of chemical application
7. Weeds
8. Poor growth due to pesticides and weed killers

Major pests and diseases

1. Corm rot of taro.
2. Giant mimosa.
3. Black weed.
4. Rhinoceros beetle.
5. Fruit piercing moth.
6. Yellowing of kava leaves.
7. Stunted crop growth due to virus.
8. Cocoa pink disease.
9. Banana black leaf streak.


This PRA was unusual in that it involved women farmers only at Sasina village on the island of Savai’i. The women requested the advisory officers to carry out a PRA to gather the views of women involved in farming and vegetable gardening. A total of 19 women formed a farmers’ group called the Women’s Committee Farmers’ Group. Tables 3 and 4 in Annex 2 report the findings of this PRA, which are summarized in the following subsections. It is interesting to note that women farmers’ needs are very similar to those of men farmers.

Major problems

1. Lack of appropriate tools
2. Lack of planting materials
3. Lack of markets
4. Lacking knowledge of vegetable production
5. Poor soil fertility
6. Pests and diseases

Major pests and diseases

7. Slugs, snails and fruit piercing moth
8. Armyworm on cabbage
9. Taro leaf blight
10. Rhinoceros beetle
11. Banana black leaf streak
12. Yellowing of taro leaf

Malae faga

The PRA in Malae Faga village on the island of Savai’i involved 15 young farmers between the ages of 18 and 23 years. Tables 5 and 6 in Annex 2 show the findings from that exercise, which are summarized in the following subsections. The problems faced by young farmers in Malae Faga are almost the same as those faced by the older farmers who were surveyed.

Major problems

1. High costs of inputs
2. Weeds
3.Pest and diseases
4. Rodent damage
5. Restricted permits for Gramoxone

Major pests and diseases

1. Corm rot of taro
2. Armyworm
3. White fungus
4. Rodent

Training in bud grafting of mango, Jamaica

FAO PHOTO/12463/F. Mattioli


A total of 35 titled and untitled male farmers were involved in the PRA at Fagasa village on the island of Savai’i. No female farmers were involved. Tables 7 and 8 in Annex 2 show the findings from that exercise, which are summarized in the following subsections.

Major problems

1. Lack of knowledge of how to set up plantations and vegetable gardens
2. Expensive tools and inputs.
3. Pests and diseases
4. Lack of planting materials
5. Giant mimosa

Major pests and diseases

1. Banana leaf streak
2. Taro leaf blight
3. Bunchy top
4. Corm rot of taro
5. White fungus

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page