Agriculture and Fisheries is at the heart of Samoa’s economic development. That said, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’auli Leuatea Polataivao, said he endevours to do all that’s possible to ensure all farmers and fishermen of Samoa benefit.
He made the promise in Parliament last Friday during the discussion of the 2016/2017 Budget. Tabled by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, the Agriculture Sector has been allocated $13.3million which covers the funding of initiatives to revitalize the cocoa, coconut and taro industry. But before he spoke about agriculture, La’auli praised the one state party government.
“This is what Samoa was like from the beginning, a one state party,” he said.
In 2006 when he first entered Parliament, La’auli recalled his maiden speech where he said Samoa would go back to where it started where there was no opposition.
He thanked the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi for appointing him as the Minister of Agriculture to continue the good work done by the former Minister Le Mamea Ropati.
“There is a lot of room for improvement.” In response to M.Ps who questioned the development of taro, La’auli said the Ministry is working on ways to improve exports to overseas markets. He said there is a problem with the consistency in supply because there are situations where importers demand 22 containers and yet the local farmers can only fill two.
In terms of vegetables, La’auli said about $6million has been allocated to develop a programme to encourage vegetable gardens.
He also spoke about the importance of reviving the cocoa, coffee and coconut industries.
“Chocolate Factories overseas are now coming back to Samoa for our original cocoa to be exported,” he said. “We are not going to look back to the mistake we made brining to Samoa the Solomon Cocoa. We need to move forward and replant our own cocoa.”
The Minister also acknowledged challenges with the Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project (S.A.C.E.P), saying he accepts that there is a lot of unnecessary red tape.
The Minister then congratulated the work done by Women in Business Inc in promoting organic farming.
He said Women in Business are not only helping some of the locals but they are finding them overseas markets to export their products. The Ministry has set aside $35,000 to help W.I.B.D.I.