Value of the humble taro planation

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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Seti Faumoe with her son at their plantation.

Seti Faumoe with her son at their plantation.

There are certain things about life in Samoa and rural living that cannot be separated. 

There are families and their taro plantations. 

For Seti Faumoe, from the village of Savaia, Lefaga, her vast taro plantation is where much of her family’s daily needs are met.

Aged 58, sales from bundles of taro she sells sustains her famiy.

“My husband and my children work hard to develop our plantation,” she told the Village Voice.

“I am doing the work right now because my husband has already taken some of the taro to sell up the road.

“We are trying to sell as much as possible to get enough money especially for this weekend being White Sunday.”

According Seti, her family has lived like this for as long as she can remember.

“We have been working this land for a very long time,” she said.

“We grow our taro then we take a short break to give the land some time to rest then we plant again. We have quite a few people living on my house. We share the house with my sibling’s family.

“The only difference is that my brother and his wife are employed.”

Seti also explained why she feels having a plantation is better than having a job.

LIVING ON TARO IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE: Seti Faumoe, 58, from the village of Savaia, Lefaga getting some taro ready for sale.
LIVING ON TARO IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE: Seti Faumoe, 58, from the village of Savaia, Lefaga getting some taro ready for sale.

“The way I see it, it’s much better living off of a plantation rather than having a job,” she said.

“With jobs you will get money at the end of the week. On the other hand, having a plantation is fast money plus we would earn something every day.

“You can take your taro and sell it almost anywhere and you will have money in the pocket that same day.”

Although tending a plantation is a lot of hard labour work, Seti says it’s all worth it in the end.

“We would start working in the early hours of the morning when it’s nice and cool,” she said.

“The day is too hot to work so we take breaks when the sun is at its strongest. We work really hard because the days are getting a bit expensive.

“In terms of things bought from shops it is expensive but when we look at the alternative way of living then it’s not that bad.

“We hardly buy things from the shop and focus more on our own root crops for meals. We are also lucky that there are always many people out there looking to buy root crops which help our sales stay strong.”

Furthermore, Seti says the sales of taro helps the family in more ways than one.

“We have already hauled our first batch of taro to the market in the front,” she said.

“People sell their taro for different prices but for me I set my prices around $15 a pile. The money we get is really decent.

“It’s enough to get things going for the family; it takes care of our different obligations as well as the occasional fa’alavelave.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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