The former Speaker of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, says he couldn’t be happier being appointed as the new Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.
He believes that his new calling is what he has earned for his work, faith and trust from his colleagues in Parliament.
“I’m humbled and feel comfortable in the sense that what you reap is what you sow,” La’auli said. “Although I wanted so badly to continue my work as Speaker, I know the role is in good hands. I am ready to take on this new role and try to uplift the ministry.”
Being selected from 50 M.P.s to be Cabinet Ministers, La’auli said he is glad the Prime Minister has taken him on board to be one of his crew.
The portfolio was held by former M.P. for Lefaga and Faleaseela, Le Mamea Ropati who was recently appointed as a member of the Council of Deputies.
Acknowledging the hard work from Le Mamea over the years at M.A.F., La’auli said he wants to continue on the same path.
How he will do that is by eyeing the untapped overseas markets.
With agriculture as the backbone of the economy, he said there are a lot of benefits for locals and growth of foreign exchange.
“I believe the Ministry has done a lot of work in the past years and the next step now is to look for more markets overseas - not only for agriculture but also for our fisheries department. There are a lot of species in the sea that we don’t use but can be (exported) for overseas markets.”
“Everyone in Samoa has access to agriculture through land whether they are employed or unemployed. This makes things easy but there is a need to “gather people at the end of the rope” and work for the development of their families, villages and country.”
La’auli is a professional chef who enjoys cooking from different cuisines using locally-planted produce.
He is the son of a former Cabinet Minister and founding member of the Human Rights Protection Party, the late Polataivao Fosi Schmidt.