Farmer celebrates return of the rain and impact on crops

A man who has been a farmer for 40 years has welcomed the rain and is celebrating the impact it will have on his crops. 

Itaotemai Tanielu Sione, 66, said the rain is a blessing and as a farmer he can now sit back and let it "do the work" for him in his gardens. 

He said he is hoping that it will rain frequently for the next two months in order for his crops to benefit from the nourishment it will give to the soil.

“If we get two or more months of rain straight, I’ll be the happiest man in Samoa, not only do I get to save my chemicals. But I also get to just lay down and watch the rain do the work for me,” he said.

Itaotemai tipped off local farmers on the benefits of the rain and how it is a valuable substitute for the chemicals that farmers use to grow their crops. 

“It goes together with growing the grass in your plantation. Most farmers would use their expensive chemicals to kill the grass in the plantations so they won’t kill the crops,” he said.

“But that can be changed when it rains. We can only cut the top parts of the grass and let them grow, so when it rains the grass helps deliver the rain into the crops and vegetables in a controlled gravity that our crops need.”

Itaotemai sells taro, yam, banana, taamu, and vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, ripe bananas, cabbages and other vegetables and crops at Fugalei Market.

The costs for a box of chemicals which he purchases on a weekly basis is $300 and he uses one box for three to four days, because his plantation is almost half of his four acres land.

“Samoa is still rich, I can say we should go back to the plantations and put it our best efforts. Before my 20s, I became a farmer as I knew that I would earn more from it and that was through my late father who taught me how to farm,” he said.

Earning over $1,000 a week from selling vegetables grown in his plantation, he said he is proud to have come this far in his life as a farmer.

A father to 10 children, Itaotemai is hoping one of his children takes after him to maintain his family's style of Samoan farming. 

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