The arrival of nonu-exporting company Wilex Samoa has opened up income-generation opportunities for families in Lotofaga.
And more families from other areas are set to join in the financial bonanza as word goes around to areas such as Aleipata, Samusu and Lalomanu.
Speaking of the benefits to her family after she decided to start selling raw nonu fruit to the company, Kiose Lauina of Lotofaga said the company owner personally called to alert them to the opportunity.
“I am the doorway of Wilex into our village of Lotofaga. This isn’t the first time my family have been working with Wilex for its nonu products, for two years we lost connection until Wilex employees showed up at my house this year, saying they are looking for people to help them with collecting nonu in the villages,” she said.
According to the 57-year-old, she went into an agreement with Wilex Samoa owner Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, when he personally called. She then alerted other Lotofaga residents to the opportunity.
Lauina said picking nonu fruit was not hard when compared to other menial tasks, where people have to clear the land, plant the crops and look after them every day.
“I thank God for this opportunity to earn money from just picking the fruits of a plant that doesn’t require much work, we all know it grows everywhere.
“It’s a suitable job for someone with high blood pressure like me, to get some exercise and sweat because I don’t have a car, I walk to pick my nonu fruits.
“And one day I went to measure my blood at the hospital, they told me my blood levels have dropped—that’s why I’m very thankful for this,” she said, with tears in her eyes.
According to the Lotofaga villager, the price for nonu fruits per bucket was recently increased from $8 to $10, after she took up her case with with the company—due to the fact that Saina and Vaivase villagers were selling their nonu buckets for $10, which was $2 more than what Lotofaga villagers made.
“After Tagaloa called and assured me that our price has increased, I started collecting again on Wednesday—but this time from Aufaga all the way to Lotofaga again—and my load was delivered yesterday,” she added.
Lauina commended the company for “lightening the burden” of the villagers, as many families in Lotofaga now collect nonu fruit to sell to Wilex Samoa. Communities in Aleipata, Samusu and Lalomanu will also be alerted this week, she added.