Ministry hopes to complete farmers, fishermen training

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries hopes that training for over 1300 farmers and fishermen in Upolu and Savai’i will be completed by the end of the financial year.

The funding for the training comes courtesy of the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project (S.A.F.P.R.O.M.) which is funded by the World Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development.

M.A.F. Assistant C.E.O. Ramona Sulifoa told the Samoa Observer on Thursday that following the Ministry’s identification of farmers and fishermen they were then visited individually, to see if they were eligible to participate and become recipients of the support provided. 

She said the goal of the Ministry is for all farmers and fishermen who applied to become part of the grant program to be trained and later given equipment following their completion of the training. 

“Our goal is to ensure that by the end of the financial year all the farmers and fishermen who had applied for the matching grant program, who are eligible and have met the minimum requirement, will be trained and given tools and equipment for their needs or business plans,” she said in an interview.

“We progress to see that the first tranche of disbursements be allocated towards the end of the financial year.”

Over 3000 applications have been received by the Ministry since June 2020 with the signing of the matching grant disbursements done on 23 April this year. Up to 1305 participants have also become eligible to receive equipment and tools.

Currently, the M.A.F. is disbursing grants and training for the remaining farmers and fishers who have already met the eligibility requirements following a rigorous screening process undertaken last year.

The public will be advised of the opening of applications for the second round of the matching grants targeting local farmers and fishers.

According to Ms Sulifoa, 352 eligible farmers and fishermen are now in the process of being trained.

“Out of the 352 farmers in Savai’i 61 participants who have completed training received their disbursements of goods to utilise and carry out their businesses, many are still in training including an estimate of 300 applicants in Upolu,” she added. 

“We have cattle farmers training in June and we hope that by September the expectations would have been met.”

Ms Sulifoa emphasised that the grants have to be used wisely and for their intended purposes. 

In terms of the eligibility requirements for the successful farmers and fishermen, she said they had to undergo rigorous training and planning in order to qualify for the grant assistance.

“We want to help with the distribution of tools for production and productivity of our local farmers and fishermen.”

• Story was corrected to reflect the fact that over 3000 applications were received by the M.A.F. since June last year and while applications for the first round of matching grants support closed last year, the Ministry will soon advise of the opening of applications for the second round of matching grants.

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