Organic farmers get tools to boost production
Two hundred organic and fair-trade certified farmers in Upolu and Savai'i received a set of tools worth $300 each on Friday.
The assistance was given through project financed by the Fair Trade Premium Fund in partnership with SerendiCoco Samoa Ltd (SCS) to help improve farming processes and practices.
The handover ceremony took place at the SerendiCoco oil mill compound at Nu'u where coconut and cocoa farmers who are suppliers to the company attended the occasion.
One of the farmers, Talo Keresipi, 65, from Vaovai, Falealili acknowledged the assistance.
“We truly appreciate the support because the equipment that is donated are very expensive and good quality,” he said.
He also added that thanks to the tools it will help his family further develop their coconut farms.
“The support will help boost our farming practices so we can try and increase production in terms of supplying more coconuts.
“If all goes well, the benefits of profits will not only help our families but also contribute to our country’s development within the agriculture sector.”
The objective of the fund is to empower farmers to decide on how they will invest into the future of their businesses and their communities, Managing Director of SerendiCoco Samoa, Fanene Etuale Sefo, said.
“Producers know what they need and the fair trade collaborative approach is a great way to help enrich their communities through their work," he said.
“We are very pleased to see the ideas of the farmers come to life through the Fair trade premium fund. These tools will enhance their businesses and operations to better help them reach their goals.
“This is just a taste of what is to come because the more farmers and workers can sell through the fair trade system the more they and their communities can benefit every year.”
The distribution of farming tools is the first farmer driven project to be financed by the premium fund since SerendiCoco began exporting their organic coconut oil to markets in USA. .
On top of a fair-trade minimum price for coconuts that farmers’s receive under their programme, SerendiCoco Samoa also put aside ten percent (10%) of their annual sales into an independent Fair trade development fund to be used only by the farmers and workers to invest in community projects of their choice each year.
The total value of the premium collected for 2018 export sales came to $107, 0000.00
The fair-trade premium fund is used only for social and environmental development projects as decided by the Premium Fund Committee made up of local farmers and workers from the industry.
The Committee received over 10 proposals from the farmers around Samoa through SerendiCoco field officers, but only one was selected for the current year.
Due to a surplus in the fund remaining after the farming tools project - a further investment has been approved by the Premium fund committee to finance floor tiles for the Patamea Primary school hall in 2020.