Farming way out of poverty and hardship
With many people in Samoa resorting to farming as a way of living, for some people, it is their only response to the rising cost of living.
That’s how Maua Selino, from the village of Aleisa, sees things.
Aged 54, Maua runs a small roadside stall and he says that his farm provides everything for his family, whether it’s food or money.
He stresses the importance of farming when you have nowhere else to go. But there are still issues.
“Farming has been in my family for about 16 years now,” Maua told the Village Voice.
“My children, wife and I live on planting crops for sale and for meals and we don’t have plans to change that.
“The one issue we face while we do our farming work is water. The water doesn’t reach our land which we farm and live on. We need water and so do the plants that we grow.”
With no running water, rainy days are joyfully welcomed by Maua and his family.
“In a situation where we don’t have running water, we have to leave some crops during the dry, sunny season,” he said.
“Crops like cabbages need a lot of water so we can’t do much about that. We have sent a few requests to the government for some help with our water but hopefully something will be done.
“With no running water, we are forced to use water tanks to water our crops leaving us with less water for our consumption.”
Maua says that people forget that plants need water too. So when there’s no water, then there’s no crops for the family.
“But today I am so grateful that it’s raining,” he said.
“Every time it rains, I feel this joy in my heart because I know that we really need it. I live on a one acre land and that’s where I plant all my crops.
“We live off of our plantation and it provides all that my family needs.”
But after 17 years, Maua and his family have managed to make it work with their farm.
“With not a lot of jobs being available to the people of Samoa, It’s good to work the dirt and benefit from the fertile soil,” he said.
“Take it from me, farming has a lot of use for families. We have so many obligations in our culture so don’t give up if you don’t have a job, farming can also provide for your family.
“If you don’t have any food for the evening and you’re a farmer then you can always go and grab something from your plantation for your family’s meal.
“I can’t stress enough how much this helps me and how much it can help so many people in Samoa.”