The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Tilafono David Hunter has confirmed a plan for an Agro-Tourism Park.
“The land for this development is at Atele at the total cost of 3.5m (Euro) to start with.” he told the Samoa Observer.
“This is a very important development to decrease the imported vegetables that cater to many restaurants and eating places in the country.
At the moment, as well as imported fruit and vegetables, chefs and caterers depend upon produce from Poutasi, their own gardens or growers who produce specific products.
Agro-tourism involves any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch.
According to their website, the Ministry of Agriculture showed that there are currently more attractive income-generating opportunities in other sectors such as tourism, resulting in a much faster growth rate.
“The performance of the agricultural sector is a concern according to Samoa's recent economic update.
“Agriculture's contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped from 12% in 1998 to 8% in 2003, averaging at 7% during 2004 to 2007.
“This declining trend may be attributed to a number of factors.
“This includes a wide variety of activities, including buying produce direct from a farm stand and many others like farm direct marketing and sustainable agriculture.
The Ministry’s long term goals are to improve Food Security a, Commercial Development and Sustainable Agricultural Production.
“The environmental stresses that are already plaguing the farming community need to be managed.
“As such, the farmers must be more resilient through the adoption of adaptable farming practices.
“It is prime time to urgently develop traditional food sources to supplement or substitute for imported food.
“Import substitution, value adding, improved local and export trade represent avenues to recapture farming as an income generating opportunity.
“Hence, farming as a business offers the potential for self employment, to make good use of the available land and human resource
It vision is self sufficiency in food and increased income-generating opportunities in farming.