Farmers in the villages need incentives so they can develop their farms and in return give back to their families and communities. Such incentives include funding and technical expertise.
So says Sa’ena Mulitalo Penaia, of Tuana’i.
He spoke to the Village Voice team, reflecting on the Samoa Industry Development Initiative at Hotel Elisa at Sogi.
The 72-year-old said he is a farmer himself and he has been enjoying every bit of money he’s made from it.
According to Sa’ena, the most important thing about this initiative is that the funding for farmers from the New Zealand government is already here.
“The funds are already there and what we’re looking at now is how soon this initiative is going to be implemented,” he said.
“The funds given by New Zealand targets the development of the koko (Samoan cocoa) and that is what I see as the main focus of this programme.”
“Mind you, a lot of farmers from different parts of the country are facing this problem where they are planting koko but it doesn’t develop well and that is why I think that there should be a move where we should form a committee for koko farmers from all over Samoa.”
Sa’ena also said that a National Committee must be formed with representatives of different communities in Samoa.
“In this way, whatever each community needs, their representative will give it in to this initiative.”
“That is why we’re supporting this initiative because we already have monetary help meaning we can actually execute our plans.”
Sa’ena advised for every farmer to be honest with implementing this initiative because this is a huge help from the government of Samoa and New Zealand.
“Be honest with your work; you know in taking care of your plantation of koko because there is no use for you to just collect the funds to make it work and in the end we just throw it away just like that.”
“Let’s no work with that Samoan mentality of when the project is done, you instantly disregard your likings for this initiative.”
“We should have the heart to keep on doing this and make use of the koko because another goal here is for the quality of the koko Samoa to go back to how it was in 1960.”
“That is another good thing about this; is to bringing back families and their strong work ethic and at the same time for them, working knowingly what they are trying to get from the work that they are doing because they know they have the funds to rely on.”
“It really is an opportunity to work with certainty and you will get the funding you need and that is why I’m thankful that this initiative might be a start for others but for me, I’ve had my time to enjoy the money I have earned from my own koko.”
“I encourage every farmer to pursue this. A lazy person will always be a lazy person but for those who are hardworking, you can have the chance to taste the sweetness of your own work.”
“Most of you don’t want to dirty yourselves from doing this kind of work but I tell you, this is where we can increase our choice of free eating; ufi, bananas and other crops.”
He added “The markets have changed; competitions have increased; I mean look at the price for niu that other people are selling; it’s four tala a niu.”
“So understand the importance of being a farmer and get back into it.”