Jam-making empowers villagers
A local jam manufacturing company is empowering villagers with new skills and providing them with an opportunity to earn an income in rural Samoa.
Cedric Holtz, who established Ma'oi in 2015 and runs a factory in Poutasi, Falealili on the south coast of the island of Upolu, said he currently employs up to 15 workers.
“My belief is that the pay is the small portion of what they got from working here. They bring these skills home and are able to teach others. The training is what is important. They learn to understand the relation to the consequences of their actions, to plan,” he told the Business team.
“The other side of giving a job is the learning process the employees get by learning a way of working, which is through the diversity of the job in the fabric challenging and touches many tasks and asks for different skills.”
On top of the job opportunities, Cedric buys his fruits directly from local farmers and pays $150 per cent of the international market price.
“The fruit can stay as long as possible on the tree and the risk of damage is less, which means we can use the best fruits. It is a benefit to the village and for us as well to be able to do a great and high quality product.”
His company currently manufactures 40 assorted jam products – all made from local fruit grown in Samoa – which are then sold in shops in Samoa and exported to Japan. There are plans to expand their operation and increase production to 10,000 tonnes per month, as currently they have the capacity to produce 5000 tonnes.
Discussing his expansion plans, Cedric said he continues to look for people who want to work and are committed.
“I look for more employees in people that need work and want to work hard. The only thing I can say is I am trying to give employment to the people who want to work hard.”