The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is moving to assess the state of Samoa’s agricultural and fisheries activities, as well as its potential for economic growth going forward.
Following the announcement of the budget at the end of May, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua told the Samoa Observer that part of the reason for their in depth site visits with his managerial team around Samoa is to assess the broader picture of the state of agriculture and fisheries in Samoa.
“It’s important that the Ministry have a clear idea of what is going on at the ground level all around Samoa,” Lopao’o said.
“This is why I have asked my team of senior level managers to accompany me so they can see for themselves as well as be on hand to troubleshoot solutions to the major challenges our farmers are facing.”
With regards to the budget allocated for the Ministry to undertake the task of fulfilling its development strategy of progressing agriculture and fisheries, Lopao’o said that it is imperative that they move forward with a clear vision considering the budget constraints.
“Basically, we have to live with what we’ve got,” he said.
“We may have to find other ways to do interventions even if we have to fork out the funds ourselves to make it happen and if it qualifies then we will look to our development partners from outside for funds. But like I said to my ministry on the first day we arrived in Savaii to do site visits – if we don’t know where we are, then we don’t know where we are going.”
“At the moment what we’ve seen on the ground as far as agriculture and fisheries is concerned, the economic potential for agricultural activity is there. What we have to do is push our people to commit to doing it because if people don’t commit then we have to look outside Samoa for people who will commit to agriculture and fisheries activities and that’s the reality.”
The Minister went on to say that in light of the budget for the new financial year he will work with his Ministry on its financial planning to provide a cashflow forecast for the next twelve months to work out if and how they will be able to meet their obligations and strategic goals.