Returning to the land bank

By Vatapuia Maiava and Deidre Fanene ,

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COMPARED TO WHAT I EARNED FROM WORKING, I MAKE MORE AS A FARMER: Iosefa Lilomaiava, from the village of Tuana’i

COMPARED TO WHAT I EARNED FROM WORKING, I MAKE MORE AS A FARMER: Iosefa Lilomaiava, from the village of Tuana’i (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Many people say there is a lot of money buried in the dirt and you can only get it through farming.

For Iosefa Lilomaiava, from the village of Tuana’i, he believes this to be true. Starting off as a farmer, Iosefa later began working in electronics but soon realized he was making a lot less than what he made from his plantation.

This realization brought Iosefa back to working hard in his plantation and hasn’t looked back since. Nowadays, he earns most of his money from koko but is slowly going back to the taro industry.

“This land belongs to my wife’s family,” he told the Village Voice.

“The one thing I earn my money from now is Koko. I harvest the Koko then I take it down the road where I dry it out and prepare it for sale.

“That’s how I make my money to provide for my family and put my children through school.”

One of the main hindrances for Iosefa and his plantation is the availability of water. He says that no plantation will thrive without water and with the pipes located far away; it makes his work a lot harder. “This is my plantation and I am trying to develop it,” he said.

“The only problem we have is water and you can’t have a proper plantation without any water so I have to haul water to my plantation every day.

“The village and government pipes are way too far and if we wanted the pipes to get a bit closer then it will take a lot of money to do so.”

But at the end of the day, holding money in his hands makes all the hard work worth it.

“Being a farmer is very good money,” Iosefa said.

“When I first started farming, I would make a lot of money every day from selling taro. I would pile up the taro and then transport it for sale. “I stopped after that to start working as a specialist in electronics. I am still working but sometimes I would put that aside and come back to farming.”

Iosefa says he prefers working as a farmer over any other type of work. “One of the reasons I am starting up with my plantation again, compared to my time working, I make more as a farmer,” he said. “There are so many problems involved with having a job in electronics. Not being able to fully charge some people for your service and what not. “At the end of the week, I will get my payment and its peanuts. I speak the truth when I say; there is money in the dirt around us.

“This is how we live here in Samoa and this is the best way to make money.”

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