For Ioakimo Suōta’ai, from the village of Mulivai Safata, life can’t get any better.
Aged 54, Ioakimo is a taro farmer who is doing well for himself. Through his earnings from taro export, he has managed to provide his family with a car.
“For a long time now, I haven’t asked my family overseas to assist us with money,” he told the Village Voice.
“That’s because my family and I are doing really well these days through my earnings from my plantation. We are able to afford paying all the bills, taking care of things in the house and taking care of the family’s needs.
“Yes we all know that a lot of our families overseas are doing really well overseas but that doesn’t mean we need to always ask them for help. They have their own bills and things to pay.
“If they can’t afford to send you any money then it’s stupid to get mad at them. We should just try and make ends meet on our own, stand on our own two feet. That’s the mindset that drives me.”
Finding the strength in the Lord every day to go out and work the land, Ioakimo is able to make over $1,000 every time he exports boxes of taro in containers.
“I am thankful every day to the Lord for the strength he gives me to work the plantation every day,” he said.
“Without that strength, I am not able to provide for my children and family. I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere in life.
“I am currently farming three types of taro. I would store the taro in a container and sell them overseas for a hefty profit. I would earn over $1,000 from selling containers of taro.
“I don’t export the taro too often though. I export them maybe twice or three times a year. It’s not an easy process but it’s worth it.”
But as hard working as he may be, Ioakimo runs into a few bumps every now and then.
“There are times I don’t earn as much though,” he said.
“Sometimes the taro isn’t at the quality it’s supposed to be so I don’t fill up a full container. Earnings also depend a lot on the market prices currently available.
“Taro also requires a lot of attention and strength to grow. It also requires a lot of land to turn a real profit and I only have three acres. Those are the sorts of problems I face with this kind of work.”
However, all things considered, Ioakimo and his family are doing really well.
“We are doing really well right now,” he said.
“The family has enough for everything and we were also able to purchase a car with the money we made from taro.
“The market for taro has recently gotten better meaning that I will earn more money from the boxes of taro I export. This is good news for many of us farmers.”