“There is no such thing as poverty in Samoa,” says Pastor Saufo’i Samu Seumanutafa of the Assembly of God Church at Salesatele Falealili.
The 54-year-old who was born and raised in the village of Sapapali’i Savaii made the comments during an interview with the Weekend Observer yesterday.
Poverty or no poverty in Samoa? That is the question.
And a lot has been said and discussed about this issue in Samoa. And it’s not just in Samoa; poverty is a global issue.
But for a country like Samoa with rich natural resources and environment, the views of the people differ on this issue.
Pastor Saufo’i has been a church minister for the Assembly of God church for more than twenty (20) years now.
And he’s not just a church minister. He is also a farmer.
He said that he started being a farmer at a very young age.
“It was what our parents did to raise us up,” he said.
“I grew up seeing how much they loved working on the lands and that was how they provided for our family.
“It was our main source of income. I saw how successful they were in bringing us up with that type of income. And I did not want to forget about the path they showed us on how to live our lives.”
Therefore, Pastor Saufo’i followed his parent’s footsteps and became a farmer at a very young age.
“I do all sorts of farming,” he added.
“I grow crops such as taro, banana and others, a vegetable garden, a chicken farm, and I also raise pigs. I am also a fisherman. I love fishing and I catch fish for my family and sometimes I sell the fish to earn money for our family.”
He also uttered that like any other thing in life; hard-work is all it takes to succeed.
“It requires hard work, we all know that. But that is all forgotten when you reap the fruits of your work.”
And that’s not all. The 54-year-old father of three is working on a new type of farming and that is a farm for lamb.
This type of farming is a rarity in Samoa. But Pastor Saufo’i is excited and optimistic about this new development.
“I bought three lambs from one for my friends for $150 each,” he said.
“It has been three months now since I started raising this type of animals.
“And I am now looking at registering my lambs and hopefully get more for my farm. This is a new thing for me and I am just starting this.
“All my life, I have been raising farms and animals and I love what I do because I know it contributes a lot to the development of our family and church.
“I don’t know how to rest,” he added. “I always want to do things and plant things and make good use of the land.
“I have been a church Minister for more than 20 years now. And I move from one village to another to preach the word of God and everywhere I go, I always start up a new farm or plantation.
“And every time I leave the villages I serve, I leave all those behind for the other Church Ministers.”
Said Pastor Saufo’i, this is something he wants to instill and pass down to his children.
“It’s something I also want my children to follow and do.
“I also see this as a great help for the congregation. I do this so that I don’t have to depend much on the congregation and to also help out with the development of the church.”
Pastor Saufo’i wants to challenge and encourage the people of Samoa, especially the youth to make good use of our lands.
“Agriculture is a really good source of income and I know it can help a lot of families and people. I earn a lot from agriculture and it’s a great help for my family. So I challenge everyone to make good use of our lands from God.
“Our lands and environment was given to us by God and we need to work the land and make good use of it. This is something our government is encouraging us to do and it’s because they also see how much we can earn from agriculture.”
He reiterated that poverty does not exist in Samoa.
“I get very sad when people of Samoa say that there is poverty in Samoa,” he said.
“How can they say that when we have so many uncultivated land and natural resources that we can turn to help us.
“Eden was given to Adam and Eve by God in the beginning for them to work on it and take good care of it, and that is something we also need to do.
“There is no such thing as poverty in Samoa. We also have the sea where we can depend on for food and to provide for us economically.
He believes that the people who are complaining about being poor are those who don’t do any work and are not making good use of our lands.
“In my belief, the reason why people are complaining about being poor is because they just sit and do nothing for their families. In some cases, people are depending so much on others to provide for them instead of getting up and do some work for their families.
“But there are a lot of blessings on our lands and our people need to make good use of that.”