Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry


by Craig R. Elevitch (editor)

From Bamboo to Black Pepper, Cacao to Coconut and Tea to Taro—Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands provides detailed cultivation, value-added, and marketing information for 26 of the most important specialty crops for Pacific Islands and other tropical locations.

Specialty crops provide a rapidly growing economic opportunity for innovative farmers and gardeners who are interested in diversifying their products. The book provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on innovating production methods, postharvest processing, and marketing.


  • 26 important fruit, spice, beverage, staple food, and hardwood crops
  • Value-added processing
  • Enterprise development
  • Accessing unique markets
  • Sustainable local food production
  • Economic and ecological viability
  • Multi-crop agroforestry systems
  • Local systems with export potential

Price: $75 (plus shipping)

Beautifully illustrated with over 940 color images, each chapter cover a crop in detail. Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands highlights producers from throughout the Pacific and shares their experience—both their challenges and successes.

From the publishers of Traditional Trees for Pacific Islands and Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands, this 576-page book promotes high-quality food, fiber, and healthcare crops grown in diverse agroforestry systems. The emphasis is on providing small farms with opportunities for local consumption and commercial sale.

Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands is a must-have reference book for farmers, gardeners, teachers, and extension agents in the Pacific and throughout the tropics who are interested in new economic opportunities from specialty crops. This is not a book that sits on the shelf, but is thumbed through again and again.


"Though the book is addressed primarily to the innovative farmers, gardeners, and extension personnel, it will prove also useful to the scientific and technical personnel interested in tropical crops, especially because of the numerous colour images given in the book, which will be informative for those unfamiliar with them."—N. M. Nayar, Agroforestry Systems review

"Editor Craig Elevitch has expertly crafted twenty seven chapters using the expertise of many prominent horticultural writers in a collective work that could become the new "food crop bible" for many small and large farmers and food producers in Polynesia and other tropical regions around the world."—Noel Ramos, Rare Fruit Council International review

“This formidable array of information is a gold mine of great ideas and insights on how our agricultural and food systems can be more environmentally, economically, culturally, and nutritionally sustainable and adaptable to a changing island world.”—R. R. Thaman, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

“This book provides an enormous boost to the growing worldwide recognition of the crucial role these traditional crops can play in alleviation of ongoing malnutrition, poor health, poverty, environmental degradation, and social deprivation.”—Roger R. B. Leakey, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

“This compendium of expertly prepared profiles of the specialty plants grown in complex agroforestry systems, lavishly illustrated by captivating photographs, is a valuable addition to the literature on agroforestry and sustainable land use.”—P. K. Nair, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

“We are at a crossroad between food, money, truth, and cultures. Why not look accurately at the issues and work toward enlightened understanding that signals a shift from status-quo thinking? Hahai no ka ua i ka ulula’au – Plant a forest and the rains will follow.”—Manu Aluli Meyer, Hawai‘i Island/Aotearoa

“To all those who say that agriculture must intensify globally, Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands responds, Yes, let’s intensify, but through diversity and not at the expense of it. It’s a message that should resonate around the world.”—Luigi Guarino, Global Crop Diversity Trust, Rome, Italy

“This book comes at an opportune time for Pacific Island countries exploring means of self-sufficiency through potentially high-value crops that meet both local needs and earn export income. For the enterprising cultivator, the book is comprehensive in its coverage and is beautifully illustrated.”
—Suliana Siwatibau, community development consultant, Suva, Fiji

“Traditional agricultural systems have been the basis for Pacific Island food security for thousands of years, but the shift from subsistence to a cash economy has marginalized many of these systems. Integrating speciality crops with economic benefits into agroforestry systems can contribute greatly to island food security and economic development.”—Bill Raynor, The Nature Conservancy, Pohnpei, FSM



Contributors vi
Foreword by R. R. Thaman ix
Preface xv
Bamboo (various species) by Andrew Benton, Lex A.J. Thomson, Peter Berg, and Susan Ruskin 1
Banana (Musa species) by Jeff Daniells, Lois Englberger, and Adelino Lorens 27
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) by Scot C. Nelson and K. T. Cannon-Eger 49
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) by Diane Ragone 61
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) by Prakash Hebbar, H.C. Bittenbender, and Daniel O’Doherty 79
Chili pepper (Capsicum species) by Hector Valenzuela 101
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) by Mike Foale and Hugh Harries 113
Coffee (Coffea arabica) by Virginia Easton Smith, Shawn Steiman, and Craig Elevitch 135
Giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis) by Harley I. Manner 159
Giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhiza) by Harley I. Manner 177
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) by Hector Valenzuela 193
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) by Lorna H. Tsutsumi and Darcy E. Oishi 205
Kava (Piper methysticum) by Scot C. Nelson 233
Koa (Acacia koa) by James B. Friday 251
Lychee (Litchi chinensis) by Yan Diczbalis 285
Macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia and M. tetraphylla) by Mike A. Nagao 297
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) by Yan Diczbalis 315
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) by Ted Radovich 329
Pumpkin and squash (Cucurbita species) by Ted Radovich 341
Sandalwood (Santalum species) by Lex A.J. Thomson, John Doran, Danica Harbaugh, and Mark D. Merlin 355
Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) by Scot C. Nelson and Craig Elevitch 383
Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) by James B. Friday and Richard Ogoshi 403
Tannia (Xanthosoma species) by Harley I. Manner 415
Taro (Colocasia esculenta) by Harley I. Manner and Mary Taylor 431
Tea (Camellia sinensis) by Koen den Braber, Dwight Sato, and Eva Lee 465
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) by Janice Y. Uchida 497
Index 513


Andrew Benton, Manager, Networking and Partnership Unit, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Beijing, China

Peter Berg, Quindembo Bamboo Nursery, Kamuela, Hawaii

H.C. ‘Skip’ Bittenbender, Extension Specialist for Coffee, Kava and Cacao, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

K.T. Cannon-Eger, writer, Keaau, Hawaii

Jeff Daniells, Principal Horticulturist, Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, South Johnstone, Australia

John Doran, Forestry Consultant, Canberra, Australia

Craig Elevitch, Permanent Agriculture Resources, Holualoa, Hawaii

Koen den Braber, c/o ADDA Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam

Yan Diczbalis, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture, South Johnstone Australia

Lois Englberger, Island Food Community of Pohnpei, Kolonia, Pohnpei

Mike Foale, Honorary Research Consultant, School of Land Crop and Food Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

James B. Friday, Extension Forester, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Hilo, Hawaii

Danica Harbaugh, AuthenTechnologies LLC, Albany, California

Hugh Harries, Honorary Research Associate, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

Prakash Hebbar, CropBioSol Inc. Crop Management/IPM Consultants, Silver Spring, Maryland

Eva Lee, Tea Hawaii & Company, Volcano, Hawaii

Adelino Lorens, Pohnpei Agriculture, Office of Economic Affairs, Pohnpei State Government, Kolonia, Pohnpei

Harley I. Manner, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Micronesian Studies, University of Guam, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Mangilao, Guam

Mike A. Nagao, Emeritus professor, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Hilo, Hawaii

Mark D. Merlin, Professor, Botany Department, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Scot C. Nelson, Specialist (Plant Pathology), Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu

Daniel O’Doherty, Research Assistant, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Richard Ogoshi, Associate Biofuel Agronomist, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Darcy E. Oishi, Plant Pest Control Branch, Division of Plant Industry, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ted Radovich, Extension Specialist in Ecology, Yield, and Quality of Food Crops, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Diane Ragone, The Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kalaheo, Hawaii

Susan Ruskin, Quindembo Bamboo Nursery, Kamuela

Dwight M. Sato, Extension Agent, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hilo, Hawaii

Virginia Easton Smith, (formerly) County Extension Agent, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Kealakekua, Hawaii

Shawn Steiman, Coffea Consulting, Honolulu, Hawaii

Mary Taylor, Genetic Resources Coordinator, Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees Manager, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji

Randolph ‘Randy’ R. Thaman, Professor of Pacific Islands Biogeography, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

Lex A.J. Thomson, Team Leader—FACT Project, EU-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade, Suva, Fiji

Lorna H. Tsutsumi, Professor of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii

Janice Y. Uchida, Associate Plant Pathologist, Tropical Plant Pathology Program, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hector Valenzuela, Vegetable Crops Extension Specialist, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii


Hardcover - 576 pages
Full color - over 940 photographs
Format - 8.75" X 11.25" (22.2 cm X 28.6 cm)
Weight: 5 lb (2.3 kg)
Release date: July 2011
Publisher: Permanent Agriculture Resources
ISBN-13: 978-0-9702544-8-1

Please contact us at orders@agroforestry.net with questions and for orders of 12 copies or more.


Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands

traditional trees pacific islandsSpecies Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry - Ecological, Economic, and Cultural Renewal

by Craig R. Elevitch (editor)

A project to educate extension agents, farmers, ranchers and landowners about native and traditional trees for:

  • Crop diversification
  • Windbreaks
  • Coastal protection
  • Shelter and shade
  • Soil improvement
  • Water conservation
  • Livestock fodder
  • Woodlots
  • Food security
  • And many other applications

This book is out of print (as of Sept. 2008)
Check Amazon.com for used copies
Download chapters here

Additional Information

Hardcover - 816 pages
Full color - over 800 photographs
Format - 9" X 11" (22.8 x 27.9 cm)
Weight: 7 lb (3.2 kg)
Release date: July 2006
Publisher: Permanent Agriculture Resources
ISBN: 0970254458

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Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands

agroforestry guide pacific islandsAn essential user-friendly resource for conserving and expanding the use of trees

by Craig R. Elevitch and Kim M. Wilkinson (Editors)

Agroforestry is a traditional Pacific Island practice of integrating trees with crops and/or animals. Agroforestry is gaining increasing recognition as a way to combine sustained agricultural production and economic development with ecological conservation and land improvement.

This publication contains a set of eight Agroforestry Guides that provide practical, user-friendly planning information for a variety of agroforestry practices in Pacific Islands. Written for landowners, farmers, and agricultural extension workers, each guide introduces key planning issues for the agroforestry practice covered. Useful species tables provide information on hundreds of Pacific Island species. Illustrations and extensive resource lists for further reading, including internet sources, support each guide.

  • Great information for growers!
  • Over 300 Polynesian plants featured
  • Real-world examples from Pacific Islands

Price: $24.95 (plus shipping)
Availability: Usually ships within one business day.

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The Overstory Book (2nd Edition)

overstory bookCultivating Connections with Trees

by Craig R. Elevitch (editor)

Whether in a small backyard or a larger farm or forest, trees are vital to the web of life. Protecting and planting trees can restore wildlife habitat, heal degraded land, conserve soil, protect watersheds, diversify farm or garden products, beautify landscapes, and enhance the economic and ecological viability of land use systems. Careful planning and sound information is needed to reach these goals.

The Overstory Book distills essential information about working with trees into 134 short, easy-to-read, single-subject chapters. Each chapter shares key concepts and useful information, so readers can get back to planting and protecting more trees, gardens, and forests, more effectively.

  • Discover time-tested agricultural and conservation techniques from indigenous and traditional peoples
  • Work with beneficial microorganisms, from mycorrhizal fungi to nitrogen-fixing bacteria and more
  • Create abundance with fruit trees, timber trees, vine crops, vegetables, mushrooms, and more
  • Form alliances with animals, from wildlife, birds, and insects to integrated, free-range livestock
  • Design effective tree-based windbreaks, noise barriers, live fences, and erosion buffers
  • Understand how to grow or obtain the highest quality seeds, seedlings, and plant materials
  • Restore fertility, productivity, and biodiversity with trees
  • Work with multipurpose plants including trees, palms, bamboos, and more
  • Market products effectively to improve economic returns sustainably
  • Locate helpful internet sites, organizations, people, and publications
  • And much more!

Back in print! Purchase from Amazon.com

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Growing Koa: A Hawaiian Legacy Tree

growing koaLearning more about the wonderful koa tree is the kuleana (privilege and responsibility) of everyone who loves Hawai'i.

by Kim M. Wilkinson and Craig R. Elevitch

This easy to read, informative and inspiring book will show you how to:

  • Understand what happened to the koa forests
  • Plan for a successful koa planting
  • Gather seeds
  • Grow strong seedlings in the nursery
  • Plant seedlings in the ground
  • Take care of the trees as they grow
  • Foster the genetic diversity of this majestic tree for future generations

A great book for gardeners, landowners, educators, farmers, foresters, and conservationists!

This title is currently out of print.

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Noni The Complete Guide for Consumers And Growers

Noni complete guideA full-color, how-to guide for the tropical healing plant known as noni (Morinda citrifolia).

by Scot C. Nelson and Craig R. Elevitch

This book shows you

  • How to get the best value in noni products
  • Chemical basis for potential medicinal applications
  • Most recent knowledge about noni chemistry
  • What you need to know to make nutrition-related decisions about noni
  • How to make your own noni juice
  • History and origins of noni in the Pacific
  • Where to find noni trees when traveling in the Pacific
  • Recipes that incorporate noni
  • Noni first aid tips
  • Where and how to grow noni trees
  • About prevention and control of horticultural pests and diseases

Buy on Amazon

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