Vanuatu is fundamentally an agricultural society where the majority of the population is involved in farm and fishing activities either for subsistence, livelihood or cash income. Copra, kava, cocoa, traditional food crops, small livestock and marine resources continue to be integral to the livelihood of farmers and the growing rural urban populations. But during the decade 1999 to 2009 the agricultural sector grew only by average of 1.6 percent per annum.
Trends in imports show that imports have increased from all major sources. Five countries of origin provide Vanuatu with around 75% of its imported goods. The last decade saw a substantial stability of Australia and New Zealand’s positions (average shares of 37% and 17% respectively), a decline of France (average share 4.1%) and an increase of China and Fiji (average shares of 8.0% and 7.8% respectively). Statistics on imported goods reflect Vanuatu’s limited manufacturing base. On average, import of appliance represents 17% of total imports, followed by chemical products (15%) and food/beverages (12.5%).
Copra still remains Vanuatu’s main export commodity, although as a percentage of total exports declined substantially, from 39% in 2000 to 21% in 2010. The decline in the relative weight of copra was matched by an increased visibility of coconut oil, whose share increased from 3% in 2001 to 19% in 2010 to become Vanuatu’s second most important export commodity. Kava, cocoa beans, seaweed, meat and timber represent the other main export commodities with average shares of 10.5%, 10.3%, 7.0%, 5.6% and 2.1% respectively.
The Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) receives import and export statistics data on quantity and value from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue’s ASYCUDA merchandise trade processing system. On occasion revisions are made to import and export entries after publication. The Vanuatu National Statistics Office makes every possible effort to check the data and resolve inconsistencies and anomalies with colleagues from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue prior to publishing.
For online access to statistical data please refer to VNSO’s webpage given.