Maua app hailed for giving farmers online platform

Australia's High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, has applauded the progress of the Maua app in providing a platform for local farmers to sell their products online.

While local farmers and fishers struggle with restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic state of emergency orders, many of them have gotten creative and turned to an online virtual market to sell their products.

This is where leading local information technology company, Skyeye, through its new and popular ‘Maua’ mobile phone application, comes in.

It is doing this in partnership with Women in Business Development Inc. (W.I.B.D.I.).

A monthly W.I.B.D.I. virtual market has enabled all the group’s products to be viewed online using the Maua App; mobile currency - either Vodafone Mtala or Digicel Mobile Money - to pay for the orders.

While producers facilitate the pickup of orders, disbursement and other logistics are overseen by Maua app and Skyeye Ltd. 

Ms. Moriarty has said that COVID-19 has a huge impact on the economies in Samoa and across the Pacific.

“[It is] through our aid programme that we are really trying to focus on promoting and supporting developments that focus on gender equality, livelihoods and also reaches vulnerable people,” she said, adding that it's fantastic to see the progress made by the Maua app.

“It is fantastic that Samoa is COVID-19 free but this also prepares people in case of a case is confirmed here and having an impact on people’s trading.

“I think that is the most satisfying aspects of working in developments, we work with Government, but it is equally important that we work with the Non-governmental-organisations, local community and private sector and help develop an access and provide a platform for people on the ground to access funding and improve their livelihoods.

“It’s really heartening, to see this working in progress and see that it is actually having a big impact on people’s lives.”

The Australian High Commissioner hopes that small businesses develop through the online platform and improve people’s livelihoods.

“We also hope to develop this digital e-commerce platform, if we can take this to the next level, with restrictions on travel with COVID-19, digital trade is a huge component that Samoa can really take benefit from.

“And links in with our support on [Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (P.A.C.E.R.) Plus trade agreement] P.A.C.E.R. Plus and the new agreement, maybe some of these small holders at some stage be able to sell their goods overseas.”

The W.I.B.D.I. Executive Director, Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i, has said that the virtual market is significant for farmers, especially with restrictions.

“Despite Samoa not having a confirmed COVID-19 case, but you never know what the future holds,” she added.

In addition, she mentioned that last year, Samoa had the measles epidemic which meant not permitted to host their monthly organic market that gave farmers in rural areas a way to earn income.

“When were ready to start up our markets again COVID-19 happened and we were in lockdown and state of emergency so we have a great relationship with Skyeye they have helped us a lot with the Maua app helping us set up a virtual market.

“We go out, visit the farmers [in Upolu and Savaii] and get the orders in, this platform is significant because many of the farmers have lost their markets and some that usually sell their products to hotels have lost out.”

She stated that because they work closely with the farmers, not many of the fishers were involved in their work before. 

“But now the most popular items are from the sea, from Manono, Aufaga, Savaii, Falealupo and we received more than 90 orders.” 

Ms. Tafuna'i also encouraged local buyers to use this platform so that they can support people that can’t get to the market.

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