Yam farmer targets international markets

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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AIMING FOR OVERSEAS MARKETS WITH YAM: Leapai Ah Sam, 49, from the village of Fagali’i

AIMING FOR OVERSEAS MARKETS WITH YAM: Leapai Ah Sam, 49, from the village of Fagali’i

No dream is too big and for Leapai Ah Sam, from the village of Fagali’i, only taking his crops to the market just won’t cut it so he now has his eye on international markets.

With the door of frozen yam exports already open, Leapai is focusing a lot of effort on his yam plantation so that he may one day start exports.

Aged 49, he explains just how easy yam farming can be.

“As you can see, I am doing great,” he explained to the Village Voice.

“I grow a lot of different vegetables and root crops and over here you can see that I am doing well with yam. Yam is easy to grow and it’s great for making money and for family meals.”

“I want to expand more on Yams; you see yams don’t come with many problems. There’s not much that goes into growing it, and then cleaning it.”

With not much work needed for yam farming, it’s easy to see why it has become the crop of choice for Leapai.

“So not much work goes into it and there are many different varieties of yam,” he said.

“When it’s harvesting time then the whole village will know because everyone grows it. I have been growing this type for five years now.”

“The skills I use started way back with my dad who taught me all I need to know. My father was able to find a way to grow the best type of yam.”

Even when sold locally, yam does rack in a hefty profit for Leapai.

“Yam is a very good way of making money,” he said.

“If I sell it without preparing the crop then I will make close to $300 a week but if I do prepare it and sell it for $20 per yam than I will make $400.”

Leapai explains that another benefit to yam is how much it will benefit the economy if we boost frozen exports of it.

“Yam is so useful to any family who grows it,” he said.

“When the prices for all other crops like banana and taro drops then yam is the one crop we can rely on. That’s why I stick to it.”

“Another advantage to growing yam is that we are able to export it right now. We export it as frozen goods and that’s a great way to make really good money.”

“It’s also good for the economy because it’s bringing money into the country. We should all push for this crop because it’s very good.”

Having the opportunity to be able to reach the international markets has always been a dream for Leapai and he will not stop until he makes it come true.

“My dream was always to be able to export some sort of crop overseas,” he said.

“I am glad that the door for yam exports is open so now I can make the most of the opportunity. It is very good money for all families who are hardworking.”

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