The Deputy Assistant Secretary from the U.S. Department, Walter Douglas, visited the Women in Business Development (W.I.B.D.I.) Inc. processing plant in Nu’u on Wednesday.
Mr. Douglas met the Executive Director for W.I.B.D.I, Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i, where they received a presentation about their work as well as a demonstration of the coconut oil making process.
Mr. Douglas was introduced to products made with ingredients by W.I.B.D.I’s organic certified farmers.
Some of which includes many body products made of coconut oil, to the various teas made up of flowers and fruits from Savai’i farmers.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Mr. Douglas said he was surprised at the number of products made by Samoa’s own natural ingredients.
“I was very surprised at what I saw, just handling all these different products. Not only were they good in themselves, but they are beautifully packaged.”
“I worked in advertising before I became a diplomat and I’m a big believer that 50 percent is content and 50 percent is how you package and how you put that all together and what I saw there is the marrying of those two ideas and they are just very attractive products. I learnt a lot in just that 15 minutes discussion.”
Mr. Douglas was accompanied by the United States Charge d’Affaires, Tony Greubel.
Following the presentation by W.I.B.D.I., the group visited the coconut pressing station where the U.S. officials had the opportunity to see how the pure coconut oil was extracted.
“I am amazed at how much coconut oil is coming out of that amount they used,” said Mr. Douglas.
President of W.I.B.D.I, Peseta Arasi Afoa Tiotio, acknowledged the U.S State Department funding of US$5,000 (T$12,825) from last year that went towards their Organic Warriors Academy.
“Their assistance helped with the following up of the youth organic farmers. The U.N.D.P. funding helped with the training not the follow up of our young farmers, but we didn’t want to train up our young organic farmers through the academy and then just leave them there.”
“A lot of them are now farming and some villages are doing group projects like vegetable gardens. We have even employed seven of them as well and some of those graduates from the Organic Warriors Academy are here showing you how coconut oil is produced.”
“They are here because they want to learn more and add value, unfortunately we only had funding to employ seven, but there are a lot more who want to come and work here.”