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Vegetable crops in New Caledonia


Vegetable crops in New Caledonia are marked by several characteristics specific to this production area:


An intertropical location, with a relatively temperate climate, marked by two main seasons and two inter-seasons

  • November to April: hot and humid season marked by depressions, cyclones, high temperatures.
  • May to October: cool season (austral winter) with transition periods in May and September-October.

The weather in New Caledonia is influenced by its relief, its insularity and by the alternation of El Nino and La Nina. The annual rainfall is highly variable depending on the year and unevenly distributed over the territory (from 1000 to 2500 mm). There is a significant difference between the east coast upwind and the west coast leeward. Overall, New Caledonia regularly experiences depressions and droughts that are difficult to predict over the year and the long term.
The average annual temperature varies between 22 and 24°C. The annual temperature ranges are low (7°C), but the daily ranges can be very high (between 20 and 25°C).


Very varied and particular Caledonian soils

They have chemical characteristics linked to the ultramafic component of the subsoil (Grande Terre). On the coral islands (Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines), there is very light soil, sensitive to drought. Caledonian soils are often subject to calcium-magnesium imbalances, sometimes to a high concentration of heavy metals and deficiencies. The land most suitable for vegetable crops is found in alluvium, in vertisols there are strong physical constraints.


Vegetable crops fitting into two dominant socio-economic systems

  • Tribal farming, on very small areas and with very little mechanization.
  • Agriculture on common law land, where livestock is predominant, but with a tendency to develop plant production under the impact of the development of the cereal sector, and presenting market gardening areas in the ground and above ground.


A wide variety of cultivated vegetables  

Resulting from these different characteristics, there is a wide variety of vegetable species, marketed or not, corresponding in particular to the different New Caledonian culinary traditions.

  • Tropical species: Chinese cabbage, chouchoute, green onion, Kanak cabbage, pumpkin and tubers such as yam, sweet potato, taro, cassava...
  • “Temperate” vegetables with a more marked seasonality: carrots, headed cabbage, zucchini, etc.
  • Soilless crops: tomato, lettuce, aromatic herbs…
  • Supervised sectors: onion, potato, squash.


Economy  growing

For less than 10 years, the vegetable sectors, in a sensitive phytosanitary context, have initiated quality procedures with the development of two specifications: responsible agriculture and organic agriculture (BioPasifika label). The volumes marketed are very variable and the variations are generally due to climatic accidents. In 10 years, there has been a slight increase in volumes, but above all a strong increase in marketed value.
100% of Caledonian needs in tropical tubers are covered, about 75% of fresh vegetable needs, and only between 30 to 50% for onions and potatoes. The export of vegetables concerns only squash, destined for Japan.

Last change : 07/07/22
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