Taro farming is good.
But if you want to make serious money, you might have to rethink your plans.
There are far too many taro suppliers in Samoa and the market is flooded.
So says Tele’a Si’usi’u, 45-years-old from Matautu Lefaga and Sale’imoa.
He said it’s not a bad thing that people are planting taro.
But the law of supply and demand is key.
“If people all plant taro, who needs to buy it then?” he said. “Which means we have a problem.”
The biggest problem for him is the cost of living.
“The cost of living is very expensive and when we don’t sell enough taro because there are too many taros in the market, then we don’t know what to do.
“Everyone is affected by this especially families trying to make ends meet.”
Tele’a said it’s not as if people took up farming as an option.
“You see the reason why all these people work at the plantation is because there are no job opportunities out there,” he said.
“We didn’t just wake up and say we wanted to be farmers. We are farmers because there are no jobs.
“Parents don’t know how they can put their children through school so they turn to plant taro. The only solution left for them is to develop the plantation but as a result, the market now is flooded. There are so many taro farmers.”
Tele’a said the government should look at helping farmers.
“Every voice should be heard, I’m a farmer and I know how hard we’ve worked. I spent five years looking for a job and when I couldn’t find one, I became a farmer.
“We may have seen how developed our country is in terms of building but let me tell you something, people and families are still struggling. We are still trying to put food on the table, we are still borrowing money from everywhere. It’s hard.”
Tele’a said the government should look into the problems and see what they can do.
“The government shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the truth because this is what we have been saying so many times and they should find ways to solve the problem
“I saw how a lot of young people are roaming around because they don’t have jobs.
“I’ve also seen a lot of elderly fathers sleeping at the market to sell their crops because some are told that they are too old to work at companies or businesses.
“These are very serious issues that should be considered very carefully for the future.”