The first intake of the Farm to Table youth programme graduated yesterday after 12 weeks of learning about organic farming.
The programme not only promotes organic farming, it also looks at promoting youth employment, giving young people another option if they drop out of school.
The project is run by Women in Business Development Inc. (W.I.B.D.I) under their Farm to Table project, which is funded by U.N.D.P.
The Associate Director of W.I.B.D.I, Auali’itia Alberta Vitale said 14 people registered at the beginning but only eight graduated yesterday.
“And this is not the end for them,” said Auali’itia.
“We will keep visiting them and follow up with their work to make sure that they are applying and using the skills they learnt from the programme and so that they can also bring in the fruits of their work to our farm to table programme.”
As this is a new programme, implementation was not easy.
“It was hard at first for it is the first time we’ve had this programme, and the participants had to show up every day for trainings the past twelve weeks. And we want to congratulate them for their commitment, hard work and effort.
“The others gave up after the induction programme but the eight graduates did not give up and were very eager to finish what they started, and today we are proud of them.”
The Youth Farm to Table programme will have a new intake next week, and they will also carry out trainings for them for three months.
Auali’itia said that they are also thinking of taking this programme to the rural areas and Savaii.
“For our third intake, we are looking at taking this programme to the big island of Savaii, to give our youths in Savaii the same opportunity to learn about organic farming and also have an opportunity to learn and have a better future.”
Iese Mata’ia from the village of Vaimoso uttered that the programme was really helpful and is ready to use all the skills he learned from the programme to start his farm.
“People always say that education is the key to success,” he said. “And we are so grateful to this programme because it has taught us a lot of important things about how to become a successful farmer. We learned about things we didn’t know before. And I think that this is a great programme for all the youths who didn’t do so well in school.
“This programme provides an opportunity for us youth to educate ourselves on how to become farmers and then use the skills wisely to help us out with our families and have a better future. We all have different talents from God, and if we use it wisely, we will be blessed.
“So I am grateful that I have this opportunity to learn and this is a great idea as well to promote organic farming in Samoa.
“A lot of people don’t really consider being a farmer as a career path, but like what our Prime Minister always says, you can be successful and have a lot being a farmer if you do it well and work hard.”