Faleasiu-uta's new packhouse creates opportunities
The Faleasiu-uta Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd have opened a new packhouse, giving local farmers a means to sort and store their produce and the potential to grow their businesses.
The project aims to meet the needs of horticulture farmers within the Faleasiu community for a facility to sort, grade, wash and package their fruits and vegetables before they go to market.
The packhouse will provide Faleasiu with a facility to host ongoing agriculture training programs, conducted mostly by the Crops Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The packhouse initiative was funded by the Australian Government through its ongoing partnership with the Government of Samoa under the Civil Society Support Program.
In a statement issued by the C.S.S.P., the President of the Faleasiu-uta Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd., Fesolai Ruta Tuiala, said:
“The packhouse has immensely impacted the Faleasiu community in improving its packaging process which is an essential element in reassuring target markets.
“In the past, we didn’t have a facility to pack our produce; but now we have the resources we need to improve the quality of our products and increase our sales to support our families.
"Thank you to the Australian Government through [the] C.S.S.P. for this financial assistance, we are positive that this project will not only benefit our members and community but farmers also in neighbouring villages."
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed major challenges to the cooperative but the Government of Samoa is encouraging farming as a means of increasing the country’s resilience to economic shocks and food security.
The packhouse will help the cooperative to handle and process horticulture produce to ensure its compliance with market requirements and standards.
Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable and require processing at the earliest opportunity. Faleasiu farmers say the packhouse will enable them to provide quality products to new potential markets.
The $50,000 grant was made available under the Small Grants Scheme (Gender Fund) of the Samoa Women Shaping Development Programme. The fund offers assistance for village-level initiatives that are seeking to promote gender equality and empowerment, and that underpin the concept of women’s engagement in decision making and access to equal opportunities.