Top farmer dedicates award to mum
Peter Tulaga Eliesa has done it again.
For the second time, he has secured the best commercial taro farm award at the 2018 Agriculture and Fisheries Show.
He immediately dedicated his win to his mother, Tevaga Palepa Tulaga.
The 37-year-old from Vailoa is Samoa’s largest commercial taro farmer.
He leased more than 100 acres of land in Fiaga after encountering challenges with trying to secure assistance from various people.
“I became a farmer in my 30s through being challenged at wanting to be the best farmer from role models like Vaai Kolone, who was a farmer from Savaii,” Peter told the Samoa Observer.
“The Minister of Samoa Land Corporation, Lautafi Fio Purcell was the only one who believed in me in the beginning when I first started out four years ago, he helped and challenged myself to be better and this why I have come this far.
“I feel privileged for winning the second time but I cannot forget to thank God for everything because his help I would not have come this far.”
Peter said he is passionate about his work and it’s a driving factor for his success.
“I recently joined a new organisation called Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (S.W.A.G.), which targets promotion of women growers and farmers in Samoa.
“The reason behind me joining was because it is a new group with fresh ideas and mindsets but most importantly it focuses on empowering women through farming, and I want to be an advocate for gender equality in promoting equal rights for both men and women to work together in farming industries but overall I want to help others especially the farmers in Samoa in any way I can.
“My vision is to bring farming to another level using the youths. I want to empower youths, especially those who are unemployed to make them see the value in our land that not many consider worth exploiting hence why most farmers are the older generations,” he said.
Peter said taro is Samoa’s biggest exporter, which is why he is urging Government to invest in it. He said farmers should be given the chance to prove that they can make farming successful in Samoa by meeting the demand for local produce.
“I only have three workers but including myself it would make four, but because I only have three workers this is why I call my farm The Best Three Farm because there are only three workers who can get the job done.
“My boys can plant a thousand taros in one day and in other days it goes beyond and we start every day at 6am and finish around 2pm then we do some other stuff.
“So many people doubt that it is possible, but I have already done my research and that is why I am successful. In farming you have to be smart because if not you will not last in the field of farming,” he said.
Peter said he still needs more land, and he has already approached Lautafi and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopaoo Natanielu Mua for assistance.