84-year-old shares story behind Organic Repellant

You are only as old as you think. Ask 84-year-old, Tauiliili Pemerika, of Salamumu, and he will tell you.

At his prime old age, Tauiliili is not slowing down at all. The agriculturalist and entrepreneur is the founder of the naturally organic oil called the Organic Repellent.

Manufactured at his Aleisa home where his farm is located, the oil is available in two fragrances, the moso’oi and lemongrass. 

But he is not stopping there.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tauilili said the oil is designed to repel mosquitoes, beautify the skin and heal wounds.

The project has been a love affair for two years.

But it came full circle on Thursday when Tauiliili presented Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, with bottles of the mosooi and lemon grass oil.

“I approached and reached out to the Prime Minister and handed over oil from this project before it was in its bottled and labeled in the form it is now,” he said.

But that was a long time ago.

Now that the product is bottled and labeled, it is exported to the United States (U.S.) and New Zealand (N.Z.). It is also sold locally.

Tauiliili is humbled by the success of his products.

 “All the glory is to God for the gift of this oil,” he said.

He explained that there is oil that can be extracted from the lemon grass plant which Samoans plant in front of their homes for decoration and for drinks.

“It is widely famous and known in Samoa that the lemon grass plant chases away mosquitoes,” he said.

“The problem with Samoan people is that they only plant it and expect the mosquitoes to automatically go away. You have to work the lemon grass to bring out the fume or the oil that chases away the mosquito.”

By way of illustration, Tauiliili said dropping a lemon grass leaf in hot water brings out the fume that permeates in a room, which then chases away the mosquitoes.

That is basically the concept behind the lemon grass repellant.

It’s the same with the moso’oi plant, he said.

Both the moso’oi and lemon grass are mixed with virgin coconut oil to produce the final products.

“I have a machine of my own where this process can be easily conducted,” he said. “It mixes up both oils (from either the lemon grass or moso’oi plant) and the virgin coconut oil.”

Tauilili said there no chemicals as all the ingredients are organic and available in Samoa.

The oil cost $18 tala and is available at Maria’s Pharmacy. It is being sold in American Samoa for US$12.50.

With the mosooi and lemon grass in the bag, Tauiliili is not done yet.

“I am investigating other plants,” he said with a smile. “I wish that I majored in science, but I am an agriculturalist.”

He majored in Agriculture Science at the University of Hawaii and obtained his Bachelor in 1964. He later got his masters at the San Diego University.

“That was where I got a bit of knowledge in relation to such. Agriculturists are not fully scientists as they only research on soil, fertilizers and so forth,” he said.

 “If I had to do it again, I’ll be a full scientist.”

He also has a message for young people. 

He wants them to go and explore the different opportunities that are available out there in terms of science, agriculture and research.

The opportunities are endless, he believes.



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