The Samoa China Agriculture Technical Aid Project (SCATAP) held a training course on Vegetable Model Farmer Orientation at the Demonstration Farm in Nuu on Tuesday 8 March as part of the activities under Phase V of the Project.
To highlight the special co-operation between Samoa and China, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Chinese Ambassador were in attendance to officially open the training which was attended by local farmers, Crops Division personnel and the local media.
In his keynote speech the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt stated thatAgriculture is the backbone of Samoa’s economy and going back to cultivate the land is one way to address the parallel challenges of hunger, poverty, COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
“I encourage you all to take ownership of our agricultural initiatives….make use of these great opportunities and assistance by our Chinese agricultural experts, so that when the period of the project is over….we are still able to improve and sustain our farms by ourselves”.
The People's Republic of China Ambassador to Samoa, H.E. Chao Xiaoliang offered his remarks stating that agriculture is fundamental for food, job, export and income in Samoa.
He said, “The Government of China will continue to provide assistance for the agricultural development in Samoa and Agriculture has become an important area of cooperation between Samoa and China”.
One of the beneficiaries of this Project is Fuatino Moli from Faleasiu village, she shared her appreciation of the continued support from the government through SCATAP.
“This isn’t my first time to receive support from this Project,” said Mrs Moli.
“Of course there has been many challenges, especially with climate change but these new technologies including tunnel houses and irrigation has helped me and my family in sustaining our vegetable production to satisfy the local shops, restaurants and hotels we supply”.
Another beneficiary, Hanna Forautonu, who raises livestock and supplies vegetables for local market also expressed her appreciation of the ongoing work of the SCATAP team.
“We have to be prepared and work hard on our farms, especially with the uncertainty of exports (vegetables and meat products) we have to work hard on making sure we have sufficient supply of vegetables and meat as substitute, and this is why we are so appreciative of this assistance from SCATAP” said Ms Forautonu.
According to SCATAP Team leader, Mr. Jim Liu, the Project will install 60 high-quality tunnel houses for 30 vegetable model farmers and provide farm tools and seeds to improve model farmers’ vegetable production and increase income, the project will also establish 20 citrus model farms and 6 chicken model farms.
The orientation ended with distribution of some farm tools and seeds before a site visit around the SCATAP Demonstration Farm at Nu'u led by Mr. Liu with the assistance of his team and staff.
The main aim of the SCATAP Phase V is to strengthen agricultural extension, build agricultural facilities, provide agricultural machineries, and carry out agricultural training to increase the technical level of understanding and production capacity of vegetables, citrus and broiler farms in Samoa.