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plantation agriculture, primary sector, Pacific Island nations, hydroelectricity, subsistence farmers

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The economies of Pacific Island nations are still largely dependent on the primary sector—that is, on agriculture, fishing, and mining—and industrial activity is minimal. Most Pacific Islanders are subsistence farmers and fishers. On some of the larger islands, plantation agriculture, mining, and forestry are also important commercial activities. Tourism and cash remittances from the many citizens who live abroad are also increasingly important sources of foreign revenue. Indeed in some places, such as Niue and Tonga, more citizens live abroad than reside at home. Some of the smallest political units of Oceania, including Niue, Tokelau, and the Cook Islands, earn significant sums of foreign income by selling postage stamps to collectors worldwide.


With the exception of Papua New Guinea, Pacific Island nations do not produce any oil or natural gas. Most fuels must be imported. Some islands could produce their own hydroelectricity by building dams, but so far only Fiji and Papua New Guinea have done so. In rural households, wood from forests is an important source of energy. Annual per capita energy (electricity) consumption is quite low in the Pacific Islands: 259 kilowatt hours per person in Papua New Guinea, 599 in Samoa, 1,240 in the Cook Islands, 859 in Fiji, 1,752 in French Polynesia, and only 107 in Solomon Islands. These figures compare with consumption rates in 2003 of 12,574 kilowatt hours per person in the United States and 9,545 in New Zealand.

Article key phrases:

plantation agriculture, primary sector, Pacific Island nations, hydroelectricity, subsistence farmers, kilowatt hours, Pacific Islanders, fishers, Pacific Islands, natural gas, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, forestry, Samoa, citizens, New Zealand, forests, fishing, oil, fuels, United States, dependent, Energy, wood, mining, Tourism, person, Annual, home, places, figures, collectors

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