Low-income families get farming support

Farmers from low-income families will be the recipients of agricultural equipment to assist in developing the agriculture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

This is part of the assistance given through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.).

According to the Chief Executive Officer of M.A.F., Tilafono David Hunter, he said that all farmers in Upolu and Savai'i that they have been working with will be the recipients of assistance.

“[Farmers] who have the know-how and we have their names including tunnel house farmers, those who helped us produce sufficient fruits and vegetables for the Pacific Games 2019, and other subsistence farmers who we had trained in the past,” he said.

Tilafono added that most of these farmers are also members of Samoa Farmers Association, Women in Business Development Incorporated (W.I.B.D.I.) and Samoa Women's Association of Growers (S.W.A.G.) farmers.  

“In partnership with and supporting [Ministry of Women Community and Social Development] (M.W.C.S.D.) efforts, we are also distributing some taro, cassava and sweet potato planting materials and direct-sowing seeds for our most vulnerable (low-income) families around the country via M.W.C.S.D.

“This will be a medium to long term effort given the number of vulnerable families and our capacity and capability to regenerate the planting materials for distribution. 

“We are also finalising our assistance for our livestock producers and fishers, especially alia operators and domestic fishing vessel owners, so that they can go out and fish more big fisheries such as tuna species and others, to lessen the pressure on our inshore (reef) fisheries stock, and this assistance will be provided once we have finalised financial assistance negotiations with our development partners.”

He added that the seed distribution will be implemented according to farmers’ know how and experience in fruits and vegetables farming.

“We can’t distribute the seeds to anyone because some seeds require nurseries to raise them before being transplanted out in the open fields.

“The direct-sowing seeds we can distribute to our subsistence farmers who may not have nurseries as these seeds you can sow directly in open fields.

“We know the numbers of alia operators and domestic fishing vessel owners and once we finalised our assistance for them, we will distribute accordingly.”

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