Eighty farmers from Upolu and Savai’i have received tunnel and shade houses.
Out of 80, 58 are from Upolu and 22 come from Savai’i. They were selected as model farmers for cost-efficient vegetable production technologies.
It was funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, under the fourth phase of the joint Samoa-China Agricultural Technical Aid Project.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.), Lopao’o Natanielu Mu’a, thanked the government of China, especially Ambassador Wang Xuefeng, Jim Liu and the Chinese Team.
“This development initiative contributes significantly towards the realization of our collective objectives of reaching the desired potentials outlined in our Samoa Development Strategy and Agriculture Sector Plan,” he said.
“It aims at achieving positive increased contributions to sustainable development that boosts economic growth, and enhances social development through the objectives of food and nutrition security, import substitution, and export market opportunities for our farmers.
“Our Ministry continues to look into partnership and funding opportunities with our development partners that can provide the best impact in solutions to assist our farmers, and I must say from my short tenure as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, just over one year now, this is one partnership that has visibly shown and proven significant positive economic and social impacts on the lives of our farmers.”
Lopao’o said that the main objective of this activity is to increase the production of safe and high quality vegetables with the ultimate aim of improving the welfare of our farmers.
“And I have been told by my friend Mr. Liu, the team Leader of our project, that you have been selected from over 200 interested farmers, which included farmers from our three farmers associations (Samoa Farmers Association, Samoa Federated Farmers Incorporated, and Savaii Farmers Association), and the prize winners of our 2017 Agriculture Show.
“And 80 of you have been blessed and are now official recipients of 110 tunnel and shade houses.
“I will not bore you with the technical and economic benefits from using these tunnel and shade houses for your vegetable production activities. I am sure Mr. Liu and his team has thoroughly trained you on how to maximize their use to realize such benefits for you.
“But I just want to remind you all that our Ministry will continue to support those farmers who help themselves. The handover of these tunnel and shade houses to you is not only the transfer of property for your use, but also transfer of responsibility to you for their maintenance. Because at the end of the day, only you will reap the economic and social benefits associated with these production technologies,” he conveyed.
Lopao’o added that those who will not fully utilize the tunnel and shade houses for their intended purposes, M.A.F. will have second thoughts in providing any further assistance towards their agriculture related developments.
“The decision by our Ministry to invest in more tunnel and shade houses for our farmers in the future will depend to a significant extent, on the success of the operations of your model farms.
“Also, with just over 10 months to go before the start of the Pacific Games 2019, I encourage you all to work with our Ministry, to plan the production of the needed vegetables and other crops, so that they are harvested at the right time to supply the Food Caterers for the Games.
“To ensure a significant proportion of the allocated budget for food for the Games’ participants stays in Samoa, instead of being spent on importing them from overseas.”