New Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $80,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources
Craig Elevitch
Hawaii Homegrown Food Network

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: sugarcane
  • Fruits: avocados, bananas, figs, citrus, pineapples
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, greens (leafy)
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, goats, sheep, swine
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, free-range
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, display, extension, networking
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, hedgerows, riparian buffers, soil stabilization, wildlife
  • Pest Management: cultural control, integrated pest management, mulches - living, trap crops, mulching - vegetative
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Agricultural extension professionals are frequently asked for new crop recommendations. This project will provide extension agents and other agricultural professionals with detailed information about 32 new crops that are highly compatible with Pacific island agronomic conditions, suitable for agroforestry systems, and appropriate for local and export markets. These crops are “new” in the sense that they are underdeveloped, underutilized, or not recognized for their commercial potential. Even though hundreds of potential new crops have been introduced to Pacific islands during the past 200 years, very few have been economically or ecologically sustainable. The failures can be explained by three major factors: little local appreciation or use of the crop; lack of understanding of how new crops may be integrated into sustainable mixed-crop agroforestry systems; and a lack of regard for local or export market potential, distribution constraints, or suitability for value-added strategies such as on-farm processing. The 32 new crops will be selected by a group consensus process involving the Major Participants and Advisors along with a range of other experts. Once the crops are selected, authorities will be located to author 4–8 page Product Sheets for each of the new crops covering essential information for crop development in the Pacific: horticulture and botany, roles in mixed-crop agroforestry including example systems, commercial products, product quality standards, location and size of markets, post-harvest processing, opportunities for local value-added processing, and potential for genetic improvement. The Product Sheets will undergo peer and practitioner review prior to publication. The completed 32 Product Sheets will be available for free, unrestricted downloading in PDF format from and will be distributed on CD and hardcopy to 100 libraries and public service organizations throughout the Pacific. This project has been planned collaboratively the five Major Participants and thirteen Advisors who have extensive expertise in Pacific island agroforestry, tree domestication, and silviculture; plant collection, evaluation, utilization, preservation, and breeding; farm enterprise development, agricultural marketing, supply chain analysis, and product commercialization; organic certification; native species conservation; and plant pathology. The Project Coordinator has produced two WSARE PDP-funded publications: Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands (2000), which provides planning information for agroforestry practices, and the highly acclaimed Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry (2005), a guide to the region’s native and traditional agroforestry trees. By providing agricultural extension professionals with current and detailed marketing and processing information for promising new crops for mixed-crop agroforestry systems, this project will stimulate farm enterprise development while promoting sustainable land-use in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Phase 1: Species selection
    The Major Participants and Advisors, along with other Pacific island species experts and local agriculture and forestry professionals in the Pacific, will select the 32 promising crop species to be covered by the project. This will take place first as a survey of participants, then a group consensus process to determine the final list.

    Phase 2: Production of Product Sheets (32 crops, 4–8 pages)
    Once the crops have been selected, authors will be sought out who specialize in each species. It is expected that about 30 authors in all will be required to amply cover the 32 Product Sheets. These will first be drawn from U.S.-affiliated Pacific universities and development NGOs, and where necessary, from organizations in other countries. At least two peers and one farmer will review each Product Sheet manuscript. Each of the 32 Product Sheets will include at least two photographs or illustrations.

    Phase 3: Dissemination
    The primary method of dissemination will be via the Internet. The Product Sheets will be posted to their own page at (operated by a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization) as they are completed. The Product Sheets will be published in PDF format for free download. A full set of the completed Sheets will be distributed on CD and hardcopy to 80 libraries, public service offices, and agricultural professionals throughout the U.S.-affiliated Pacific.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.