Govt. targets Pacific markets for farmers
The Government is looking to American Samoa as a market to export local fruits as part of its efforts to open up more markets for local farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Chief Executive Officer, Tilafono David Hunter, confirmed the negotiations with Am. Samoa to allow Samoa to supply fruits to the neigbouring island.
But it's not just American Samoa.
The C.E.O. said they are also looking at other Pacific islands like Fiji and Tonga.
“The Minister (of Agriculture) is working on that for Fiji and Tonga as well,” Tilafono told the Samoa Observer.
“Efforts are still ongoing at the moment at all levels with Am. Samoa and there is a lot of opportunity in that market not just for bananas but also fruits.
“But as mentioned its ongoing efforts we are making discussions and we hope it can also be something discussed during the two Samoa talks…maybe it is something that can be discussed on the margin on these meetings.”
Tilafono added negotiations and discussions are not as simple as it appears and every effort is made to secure a possible opening of the market in Am. Samoa.
President of the Samoa Banana Farmers Association, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, in a recent interview urged the Ministry of Agriculture to push for market in the neigbouring island for farmers to supply.
He made reference to the American Samoa National School Luncheon Programme which is a huge market for banana farmers to explore and make use of their harvested banana.
“It's close to us and there is a huge market there,” said Tuisugaletaua.
“And that is the kind of talks that the Minister of Agriculture should negotiate to open up the pathway for us farmers.
“We have the capacity to supply the market and bananas can be harvested today and sent there within a day without having to worry about the banana being over matured.”