Salelologa farmer secures American export market
"If you don't see a door, build one yourself."
With this ethic in mind, a commercial farmer from Salelologa in Savai'i, Pauli Fa'afetai Lui in a partnership with SP 2 USA Company has opened a door to export frozen (agricultural) produce to America.
This project was officially launched and opened on Friday at Salelologa and was well-attended by the caretaker Minister of Agriculture, Lopao'o Natanielu Mua, caretaker Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, the business community, and farmers in Savai'i.
The packing house at the Lui's Residence at Salelologa has been fully-equipped with the right resources needed for processing frozen taro for export to the U.S.
Such a project is essential and will be a great help for farmers in Savai'i, said Lopao'o during his keynote address.
He commended the hard work and determination of Pauli, his family, and his partners for such a great project.
"Today, I am reminded of that famous quote, if opportunities don't knock, build a door," Lopao'o said.
"We are here today to celebrate this great milestone and to mark the beginning of this project, a door that was built by Pauli Fa'afetai not only for his family but also for the people of Savai'i."
In an interview with the Sunday Samoan, Pauli said there is a great need to find more markets to export agricultural produce to overseas countries.
"I'm not one to brag, but to tell you the truth, I probably have the biggest plantation in Samoa," Pauli said.
"There are more than a million taro that is already matured and ready for export, not including the millions of new taro seedlings and the taro that are not yet matured.
"That is exactly why we looked at ways we can export taro because there is a lot of hard work and resources that are going into these plantations and we want to export it so we can earn more from it and contribute to the economy of Samoa.
"So that's the main reason why we looked at finding a door to export our local produce overseas... we saw that we did not have enough market to export agricultural produce to countries overseas.
"We have markets in Australia and New Zealand but not in America. So we have been praying so hard for this and we are grateful for this opportunity, and we want to thank everyone who has agreed to come on board and assist us with this project.
"As a farmer, I truly agree with what our Prime Minister says most of the time that there is no poverty in Samoa; we have milk and honey in Samoa.
"But the reason why you don't drink the milk and eat the honey is that you don't work and just muck around, relying on families overseas to send money to you.
"I also want to acknowledge the support of the Minister of Agriculture and the C.E.O. for their ongoing support and help."
Pauli is an active partner of the Samoa Agri-Business Support (S.A.B.S.) Project since 2020, which focuses on taro, ava, cocoa, coconuts, and cattle livestock.
S.A.B.S., according to Facility Manager, Donald Leumaga, provides both financial and business services assistance to eligible commercial agribusinesses, to expand their production or diversify into value-added activities.
The Project is supported by the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.), Australian and Samoan governments.
It aims to support agribusiness development, increase exports, create employment opportunities in rural areas, and diffuse economic benefits from large commercial enterprises to smallholders via a robust supply chain network.
The S.A.B.S. Project works directly with the four local commercial banks to facilitate access to finance.
Assistance comes in the forms of security or collateral support, reduced interest rate (on 75 percent of the loan), interest-free on 25 percent of the loan for 7 years, preparation of the business, financial cash flow plans, and 80% refund on approved business-support services.