Chinese experts looking to grow agriculture
A team of twelve agricultural experts say they have big plans to supercharge Samoa's agricultural production over the next three years as part of a technical agricultural aid project.
The Chinese experts, part of the Samoa-China Agricultural Technical Aid Project (S.C.A.T.A.P), arrived on 29 April and were released from quarantine on 13 May to begin work on the project’s fifth phase.
They were officially welcomed by the Caretaker Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) Lopao’o Natanielu Mu’a and China’s Ambassador Chao Xiaoliang at the Ministry on Monday.
The upcoming phase of the agricultural project will focus on “ecological agriculture, recycling agriculture and low-carbon agriculture”, consolidating the agricultural extension system, constructing feed mills and other facilities.
It also aims to add 56 new model farmers in citrus and chicken production by providing 60 new vegetable tunnel houses, planting 1000 high-quality citrus trees and raising 10,000 broilers per year. The Chinese Government will also supply 80 sets of agricultural machinery and equipment, and conduct agricultural training for farmers and industry professionals.
The team’s leader, Jim Liu, told the Samoa Observer on Wednesday that after the team emerged from quarantine they were buoyed to receive a warm reception from M.A.F. staff.
“All of the Chinese team members are very much encouraged and appreciate very much the hospitality of the Samoan Government and the people,” he said.
Mr. Liu said that phase five of S.C.A.T.A.P. is appearing to be the most extensive installment of the project so far.
He said the arriving team has more people, a greater budget and also bigger plans.
They will focus on three products - vegetables, citrus and broilers - which they say will positively develop Samoan farming.
Mr Liu said that the project's overall plan is to develop Samoa’s broiler industry.
The plan involves establishing a breeder farm, a hatchery, and providing assistance to farmers to build broiler houses. The technical assistance team will also build a feed mill to help supply the farmers with chicks
The plan is for each farmer to raise between 500 to 1000 chickens at one time and generate enough income to maintain a sustainable workforce built around broilers.
Mr. Liu said that happy to share our experience and technology with Samoan farmers and we are trying our best to benefit the Samoa farmers.
The team's livestock expert, Hua Ping Jiang, is in charge of a fully automatic egg incubator which will also be among the innovations brought to the table.
He says the incubator has to be kept at a temperature of 37 degrees, with humidity at 65.
The team is also planning to set up a feed mill and a broiler house consisting of 300 broilers. They expect to raise 10000 broilers during the team's three years in Samoa.
The team's fruit expert, He Qiao Sheng, told the Samoa Observer that Samoa has a very favourable climate and cooler temperatures which are good for planting produce.
He says his main task will be to grow seedlings, weeding and controlling against diseases that might affect fruits and trees.
He said the project’s aim is to serve farmers by providing high-quality and high-yield fruit seedlings, including fruit tree planting techniques.
Agro machinery expert Zhang Wen, who has been in the country for nearly 20 days, operates a machine known as a chopper which cuts plants into small pieces allowing for them to be turned into fertiliser.
He is in the country to maintain the machines, and to perform training and demonstrations for the farmers, while also distributing the machinery.