A broad perspective for agriculture cooperation between China, Samoa
Ambassador of People’s Republic of China
The exciting National Agriculture Week has come to a successful end and it was with great pleasure that I attended all the events of this agriculture gala.
I was very impressed by the efficiency on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and other concerned authorities as reflected in the immense organization work of all the events during the week. I was also overwhelmed by the passion of all the participants of the National Agriculture Week. The young students from Faleata College---the promising future famers of Samoa---and the lovely villagers from Faleata presented the wonderful singing and dancing at the Official Launch of the Agriculture and Fisheries Week & Coconut Planting 2016 at Nuu. The famers from villages all over the island came to showcase the best farm produce as well as dopers and pigs and fishes at the Official Launch of the Agriculture and Fisheries Show at Malaefatu Park in Sogi. The bustling scene of farmers selling the products after the judgment the joy of prize-giving in Sogi were just like a big festival and my wife could not help but join the many happy buyers and bought a basket of the juicy Apiu to share the sweet fruit harvested by the Samoan farmers.
One of the event during this Agriculture week that I attended is the Launching of the New Agriculture Station at Falelatai, one of the events during the agriculture week which was graced by the Member of the Council of Deputies, Hon. Afioga Tuimalealiifano Sualauvi II, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Laaulilemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fossie Von Schmidt. Many villagers were also present at the launching ceremony.
The construction of the new Agriculture Station at Falelatai, funded by Chinese Government through China Samoa Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project, is now completed and is ready for use for local farmers. During the event, we visited all the facilities of this new agriculture station including a nice fale-style building with a training room and two offices, two big water tanks as well as two tunnel houses for vegetable planting. I was happy to see many happy local farmers tending the green and lush vegetable plots in the spacious greenhouse while we were visiting and they shared with us their joy of learning the new techniques in growing new varieties of vegetables through the training programs provided by Chinese agriculture experts.
Since 2010, under the China Samoa Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project, Chinese government has sent three Agricultural experts teams to Samoa to set up a Demonstration Farm and more than 10 Agricultural Stations in both Upolu and Savaii with an aim to transfer the technology and knowledge of vegetable production, pig-breeding and bio-gas utilization to local farmers. The newly-built Falelatai Agriculture Station is just one more result of agriculture cooperation between China and Samoa.
I hope all the nearby villagers could make full use of the facilities of this agriculture station to learn and exchange experience in growing vegetables and other plants through training and other programs provided by Chinese agriculture experts.
Agriculture is one of the pillar industries in Samoa’s national economy and Samoan Government attaches great importance in Agriculture. Samoa boasts many advantages in agriculture with its fertile soil, bright sunshine, ample rainfall and varieties of species. China is also a large agricultural country and has rich experience in tropical agriculture. There is a broad prospect for agriculture cooperation between China and Samoa. Here I would like to share some personal opinions with regard to how to further tap the potentials in agriculture cooperation between China and Samoa.
Firstly, the future cooperation in agriculture should aim at helping local farmers grow the kinds of vegetables that currently are mainly imported from overseas countries. Chinese agriculture experts have successfully grown a variety of vegetables on the demonstration farm at Nuu.
What we should do next is to choose several varieties of vegetable as key projects and transfer the knowledge and skills in growing them to more and more local farmers, hence enlarging the scale of the production of those vegetables so that people may spend less money on imported vegetables in the future.
Secondly, agriculture cooperation should also aim at helping local farmers developing marketing channels and technical support system for their farm produce. Furthermore, certain kinds of food processing industry should also be developed so that there will be more job opportunities for farmers who can get long-term and steady profits from these efforts.
Thirdly, as we know that more varieties of vegetables in daily meals will help improve and strengthen the immune system of human body and prevent diseases, we should promote a healthy diet concept featuring more and more vegetables by introducing recipes and cooking methods of the vegetables which can preserve as much as possible the nutrient components of the food.
Over the years, China has always been active in participating the South-South Cooperation in the field of agriculture cooperation and has sent more than 1000 Chinese agricultural experts to many countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean as well as the South Pacific. China Samoa Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project is the one among these cooperation. Samoa is China’s long-lasting good friend and good partner. Chinese Embassy is willing to cooperate further with Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries of Samoa in the future to develop long-term and sustainable training programs for farmers in agricultural technology and bring more and more benefits to the people in Samoa.