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Work on S.R.O.S. commercial factory to begin

The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of this month for its new commercial factory.

The Government has allocated $2.5 million in its first COVID-19 Stimulus package, says S.R.O.S. Corporate Services Manager, Alailepule Christopher Lei Sam, for the project. In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Alailepule said construction is likely to begin at the end of October.

“When the Government approved a stimulus package for S.R.O.S [of] $2.5 million in March or April, that funding that was announced is what is funding this [commercial factory],” he said. “So right now we are starting. I think at the end of this month, construction will begin on that building.”

The building is tailor-made for the purpose of mass production of items developed by the Government-funded research and development organisation, according to Alailepule.

The latest product to come out of the S.R.O.S. is a taro ethanol hand sanitizer, which was created in the effort to assist the hospital during the 2019 measles outbreak.

“That building is specifically for that purpose and it won’t just be hand sanitizer, there will also be production of flour and those items that are needed often,” he further emphasised.

“There is breadfruit and bananas. Those are all the things we are looking at to mass produce. This project has been 10 years in the making and it is just starting to take off and that’s the idea behind the building.”

Ultimately, the overall objective of the project is to support local farmers. Staff from the SROS will also go out to the villages to work with farmers in the post-harvest phase.

“So we have an answer for the ulu (breadfruit), there is something for taro and another thing we are looking at is ava. We are looking at medicinal or medicines that we can make from our own plants,” said Alailepule.

“We are looking for medicines that will cure illnesses like diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. We have a really good team here.”

The S.R.O.S. has also made taro whiskey, taro ethanol hand sanitizer as well as making products such as herbal teas. 

They are also working to expand on their hand sanitizer that took six years to create. Local flowers like mosooi and pua will be used to create a variety of scented taro ethanol hand sanitisers.

The production of alcohol has also been achieved with the taro whiskey available locally at Le Well. It is also sold online as a premium whiskey for AU$170.

Due to each product bearing the name of Samoa, Alailepule said each S.R.O.S. product will go through stringent post-harvest processes. 

All taro that are used in S.R.O.S. products are grown in Samoa with the distiller used imported from Germany.

“The whole purpose is to support our local farmers and also our economy and our hospital,” he added.

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