Villagers to grow sweet potatoes

Despite the closure of a climate change-resilient crop growing project at Ulutogia, the villagers have agreed that it continues due to its connection to their long-term sustainability. 

The project focused on planting crops that are resilient during periods of natural disasters including cyclones, with the project proponents focusing on umala (sweet potatoes), manioka (cassava), and ufi (yam).

While taro is one of the main staple crops in Samoa, Ulutogia villagers have agreed to switch and focus on umala (sweet potatoes).

According to 48-year-old Tualemoso Faafetai, the villagers’ focus will now shift to growing sweet potatoes, as they already have five to six different varieties of the crop found in their village.

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“In March (next year) we are going to have the first sweet potatoes harvest showcase in Samoa. We are trying to arrange for markets for our crops, which are also very exciting.

“The villagers now have the opportunity to be part of something and make use of their time, whether it is in the morning or evening they are all keen to work together,” he said. 

While he acknowledged that Samoans do not like to eat sweet potatoe and cassava, he said it was time to change and the Civil Society Support Programme (C.S.S.P.) has enabled them to make that transition. 

“The project by C.S.S.P. was very beneficial for us because it was a good supply for food. We are truly exited for the sustainability side of the new project launched which hopefully can assist us through income earning as well.

“The project has brought everyone together in our village which we have been keen and determined to part of this project,” he added. 

Tualemoso said an inspection of the project was done after its closing and it revealed that over hundreds of sweet potatoes, cassava and yams crops were recorded as part of the project. 

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