An Australian farming couple has praised the agricultural potential of Samoa saying the country has the resources to grow local produce and end its reliance on imports.
Nancy and Joe D’Anastasi, who own the Glenorie Hydroponics farm in New South Wales, said they recognised the potential upon their arrival in Samoa.
“You got everything here from the resources, the power and water that is all what they need. The potential is mind blowing to get rid of the imports and provide independent local product to export,” Mr D’Anastasi said in an interview with Samoa Observer.
The couple is in town to meet the families of Samoan fruit-pickers that they recruited to work on their farm. Their company currently employs three to four Samoan men and women on six-month contracts to produce hydroponic lettuces, which are sold to businesses in Sydney.
Speaking of the agricultural potential of Samoa, Mr D’Anastasi said their Samoan workers have a fair knowledge of farming and they try to encourage them to bring their knowledge and skills back to Samoa.
“They know our farm in and out. We try to encourage them, what they learn there to bring it back here to Samoa. They could make an absolute fortune for the community because they know everything from A to Z.”
He acknowledged that having the knowledge and using it appropriately are two different matters.
But there are rewards after the hard work according to Mrs D’Anastasi, who said their success could lead to them supplying local hotels and supermarkets.
“It would be expensive for them first but if they see the rewards afterwards, they could supply hotels, supermarkets or on the road. It doesn’t have to be lettuce it can be any kind of vegetables.”
Under their Samoan workers’ terms of employment, the company covers the cost of workers and medical insurance, provide accommodation and have access to a car and internet. Each one of them gets paid $40 Tala an hour working on the farm in New South Wales.