PWA SAMOA 2019
Meet Rebeka Ainea, 54 years of age originally from the village of Siutu, Salailua and now resides at her family land in Vaitele. Rebeka, a local entrepreneur, displayed her talents in tapa making and her crafts at the display booths at the TATTE Conference Centre during the Pacific Week of Agriculture in Apia.
Ainea is deeply passionate about continuing one of the oldest Samoan cultural art forms – the siapo – after learning the skills at 13 years old, she has been refining her talent for over 40 years.
“I have been making siapos professionally for about 20 years now. I started learning at a very young age and have never looked back”
“It’s not my family’s main source of income, but I continue to do this because I am personally committed to reviving the art of the siapo”.
This talent is being practiced less and less, which initiated the Government of Samoa to reignite the cultural art through its community programs with the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (MWCSD).
Ainea explained that the art form of siapo making is difficult and expensive, “sometimes the farmers charge so much for such a small branch of the mulberry tree, but I take it, because without that, I cannot make any siapos.”
Ainea is hopeful that through the PWA deliberations, she and other local entrepreneurs who rely on farmers, will receive some assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to ensure mulberry trees are planted and grown to supply the raw materials for this cultural art form to continue to be done in Samoa.
From Tuesday to Friday you will find her in the faleo’o (samoan fale) at the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) Cultural Village in the heart of Apia, near the FMFMII Government Building, from Tuesday to Friday every week.
The Samoa Cultural Village is an initiative by STA that showcases Samoa’s culture and traditions in a fun and interactive way. Aniea is part of that cultural show at the STA Fale which showcases special demonstrations on the making of the siapo for tourists and locals that come by the Samoa Cultural Village.
CTA and DBS Side Event # 9 Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Pacific Agribusiness and Value Chain Development
Pacific agri-entrepereneurs, stakeholders and interested parties gathered at the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday 2nd October, 2019 for the CTA and DBS Side Event “Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Pacific Agribusiness and Value Chain Development”.
A panel of experts provided their overviews and insights into the increasing access to finance for farmers and agricultural developments – discussing blended finance, value chain financing and inclusivity from the Development Bank of Samoa (DBS) perspective was the Chief Executive officer, Susana Laulu. Laulu also touched on the financing pilot underway at DBS for agriculture value chain.
Tawfiq El Zabri, Country Programme Manager for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) highlighted the role of development partners. El Zabri noted that “its hard to speak about financing without speaking about the challenges in agriculture”. Therefore development partners like IFAD look at the needs and challenges which farmers, countries, and regions face in order to prioritise financing and investment.
The Role of Central Banks was highlighted by Samoa’s Central Bank (CBS) Governor, Maiava Atalina Ainu’u Enari. The CBS extended its lending facility to DBS to assist with the stimulation of the economy after the 2008 recession. Enari noted the importance of financial literacy programs which are facilitated by CBS, as well as the steps the CBS is taking to establish a credit bureau with its development partners – all to ensure there are facilities for financing development in Samoa. The interest for the CBS is also to look into the potential for insurance services to be part of the financial services to small-medium enterprises.
From a Fijian perspective, Jiu Daunivalu, Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council (FCLC) spoke about the Fijian experience and their 3 key pillars of service. The FCLC was established to raise the profile of farmers of crops and livestock and advocate for key services which are designed to respond to the specific needs of the Fijian farmers.
The Samoa Farmers’ Organisation’s Alice Papalii Seuseu provided a “loud message” in a soft voice that farmers need less paper work and more proactive but simplified methods to obtaining assistance to finance.
CTA events continue today at the Sheraton discussing enhancing public-private producer partnership in the Pacific: Experiences and Opportunities from 9.30am.
Women in Agriculture – Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG)
The Pacific Week of Agriculture has had many forums discussing the contributions and challenges faced by women in agriculture.
At the Annual Agriculture and Fisheries Show, the Samoa Women’s Association of Grower’s (SWAG) have been screening a short video of their work, and display the various SWAG members fresh produce, flowers, medicinal herbs and showcase “Free” basket weaving to show-goers.
SWAG’s aim is to promote women in agriculture through capacity building, networking and marketing opportunities. SWAG’s collectively network to promote individual growers produce and products – the network means that if you want chutneys or jams, fresh pe’epe’e or taamu bread, medicinal quality herbs and specialty vegetables, local koko and coffee, or ornamental flowers then you can find it with any of the SWAG members.
SWAG Secretary, and the Pacific Leader for Women of the UNDP, Papalii Mele Maualaivao stated
“We focus and encourage women in farming and grower, often farming is considered as a man’s job but women can do it as well”.
Although the title of the group states “Women”, 30% of its membership is made up of men.
Resourcing can be challenging, however, Maualaivao stated “We are very blessed. The SWAG receives funding from the US Embassy. We also offer classes for our women in Agriculture” which Maualaivao explained the recent “Siamu Feast” which built capacity of village women representatives in making jams, pickles and the like to understand value added productions to increase household incomes – for instance, instead of selling your mangoes on the side of the road when everyone else is doing that – you can save them and make jam or chutney and get more money from the one mango.
SWAG also promote the work of women farmers through tourism as well. Local cacao farmer Faalualuo Floris Niu from the village of Tuanai runs tours of her cacao farm showcasing farm to table, and even beauty products such as cocoa butter and oils. Niu’s organic cocoa is exclusively exported to New Zealand to a chocolate-making company, however, Niu says “I want to produce chocolates locally from my cocoa beans instead of having it exported overseas, if any luck I would export our chocolate overseas”.
PWA has been a great platform for women to highlight their challenges, but also voice their recommendations for solutions to women in Agriculture.
#SWAG can be found at the Agriculture and Fisheries Show, or on Sunday at the local fish markets.
Tonga at Pacific Week of Agriculture and the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Show
Usual rivals in the sporting arena, Samoa and Tonga came together to celebrate the theme of the Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA), enhancing partnerships to sustainably develop agriculture.
Honorable Minister for Agriculture Food and Forestry in Tonga, Losaline Maasi, has been a very proactive participant of the PWA since its commencement with side events from Monday 30 September, 2019.
The Kingdom of Tonga is also the first, and only other country from the Pacific, to host a display booth at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries annual Samoa Agriculture and Fishes Show 2019, that officially opened today at Malaefatu Park.
Ilaisaane Olivia Tuitupou, Senior Business Development Officer from the Ministry of Trade and Economic Market of Tonga headed the display of the Tongan produce at the Show.
“Being part of the Agricultural Show today means a lot to us. It helps to promote our local product and to get potential importers”, says Tuitupou.
The Tongan display showcased watermelons and root crops and other items for tasting and for sale.
The willingness and determination of the Tongan farmers to participate in the Samoan Agriculture and Fisheries Show demonstrates the foresight for representation of pacific island farmers at the PWA and a real proactive approach to showcase agricultural partnership in action.
The opportunity to showcase Tongan produce in Samoa has many benefits, but to Tuitupou it is also a chance to observe the market in Samoa for similar locally produced products:
“We also look at the price range, who they export their product to and to observe everything that’s happening here”.
Tonga is also the home of Tumu’anga chips, Tupu’anga Coffee, Vanilla Beans, Kumara, and Mozuku, all being exported to various countries, including to New Zealand.
The Mozuku is the only local product of the Kingdom currently being exported to Japan and China.
The Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Show is the major side event of the PWA and continues until Friday 4th October, 2019.
Side Event #8 Pacific Women – Farming Our Way
The Pacific Community (SPC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) opened up the dialogue for Pacific women on Tuesday 1st October, 2019 at the TATTE Conference Centre during #pwasamoa2019 side event at 5.15pm.
The forum goers heard from influential leaders – all of whom were female. This included the Acting Prime Minister of Samoa, Honourable Fiame Naomi Mataafa who gave the keynoe address. Deputy Director General of the SPC Audry Aumua, Eriko Hibi, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Ethel Frances, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the Solomon Islands, and Leaupepe Lasa Tuaifaiva Aiono, a farmer and business women all gave interesting insights to agriculture from a women’s perspective.
The stimulating message from the Solomon Islands is that in their studies of women in agriculture, the male counterparts have been seen as either a challenge or as champions. Solomon Islands have one of the highest rates of domestic violence, which they are constantly working to address. However, such abuses against women have notably affected their mind sets, which affects productivity in their work in agriculture, which in turn hinders their ability to contribute to their family’s income and livelihood. On the other hand, some men have been found to be extremely supportive of their spouses to work in agriculture, especially in value added and increasingly in cash crop production. This has proven that there are male champions and examples of encouragement to ensure women are acknowledged for the work they do in this field.
#pwasamoa2019 celebrates women in Agriculture in other side events run by the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network which has a week long event at Orator Hotel, and Thursday and Friday the two day event entitled Pacific Women in Agriculture and Nutrition.
The Pacific Week of Agriculture concludes on Friday 4th October 2019.
Pacific Women in Agriculture recognized at the Pacific Week of Agriculture
The Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON) is part of the Second Biennial Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA). PIFON exists to serve as an umbrella organisation for national farmer organisations in the Pacific Region. They assist in coordinating capacity building, sharing success stories and lessons learnt as well as supporting regional exchanges of expertise between farmer organisations and their associated private sector and donor agency partners.
PIFON is in Samoa on an official invitation by the Minister of Agriculture, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua to participate and to host the Women in Agriculture, something that according to Ms. Lavinia Kaumaitotoya, is a very special topic for them.
“We want to highlight women,” said Kaumaitotoya. “Normally when you have these meetings it’s mostly about crops and policies but we wanted to celebrate women and their achievements in food, arts and culture, and that’s why we are here,” she continued.
PIFON hopes that by the end of the 2-day workshop they will have developed an outcome statement titled ‘The Samoa Decision’ based on deliberations during PWA.
“Basically the women of the workshop will mandate us on how we go forward with activities, how we can continue to highlight women who work in agriculture and how we can continue to promote the work that they do.”
Kaumaitotoya reiterated the importance of the meeting and that ‘The Samoa Decision’ will be used within PIFON to continue to carry on the work that they do, that is, promoting women and gender.
Samoa's local Nonu a cure use by China
Samoa’s local Nonu is a cure for China’s people
The Pacific Week of Agriculture Food and Agriculture show which opened on Wednesday 2nd October, 2019 displays a multitude of local and regional produce.
One important question is whether such produce showcased at the annual Show is being marketed and used to its full potential to generate income to the economy through exports.
The Skyline Samoa Company at Vaitele is the biggest export of Nonu to the China market.
“The product is locally produced here in Samoa, and then we export it to China for use”, says Mr Eric Lee, an employee at the Skyline Samoa Company.
The nonu is used to make soap, juice and other products that is exported to China by Skyline. Their biggest export market being to the South East Asia.
The importance of nonu for the Chinese is for health and medicinal purposes.
“The nonu that we use to produce these products are from the local people of Samoa and some of the local farmers who have partner up with us”, says Lee.
A challenge for the exporters is the shortage of Nonu which can delay productions.
#pwasamoa2019 continues to 4th October, 2019.
Nutrition sensitive Pacific food systems Forum
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) organised and facilitated the Nutrition Sensitive Pacific Food Systems Forum held at the TATTE Conference Centre on Wednesday 2 October, 2019. The forum was opened by FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Eriko Hibi, and chaired by the Honourable Lopao’o Natanielu Mu’a, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa.
This half-day event provided a strategic opportunity for relevant partners and stakeholders of the agriculture and health sectors to deeply consider cross-cutting issues with agriculture and nutrition.
The forum aimed to specifically draw the attention of those attending, who were representatives from various Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to reflect on how nutrition is an integral aspect in building policies in regards to agricultural developments.
The enthusiasm of the participants to contribute during the interactive dialogue session created the impetus to identify gaps, in order to improve the connection between nutrition, food security, and agriculture and food systems.
All stakeholders across the two sectors have different roles in ensuring the improvement of nutrition. The issue is to establish transparent and appropriate channels and linkages with relevant stakeholders to achieve healthier lifestyles by affordable healthy foods, which benefit our families and communities, and particularly our farmers’ livelihoods.
The reflections gathered from this forum will be accumulated to gather guidance to countries as focus areas for the High Level Symposium on Nutrition and Food Systems in 2020.
Science is a key to innovation
Science is a calling and people who want to change the world should consider science – that is the encouraging message from Dr. Seeseei Molimau-Samasoi, the head of the Plant and Postharvest Technologies Division (PPT) of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS), and an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Australia.
“I am very passionate about scientific research because I get to learn new things everyday”, says Molimau-Samasoni who has worked at the SROS for 10 years and credits her love for science to her year 8 and year 10 science teaches from Apia Primary and Samoa College respectively.
The work done by the PPT includes a focus on laboratory testing of Samoan plants for their medicinal qualities, as well as postharvest training and capacity building with farmers to ensure there is greater shelf-life for their products, as well as export quality produce available from Samoa.
The other two major divisions of the SROS with agriculture focus is the Food Science and Technology Division (FST) which focuses on value added products which has research based food such as herbal tea, chocolate, breadfruit flour, and avocado oils to name a few. The other division is the Environment and Renewable Energy Division (ERE) which produces the famous Samoan Whisky from taro.
Molimau-Samasoni explains that the challenge for SROS is effectively disseminate their proven research to farmers to ensure these proven technologies and approaches can be applied in the farm for better yields, productions, and value added products.
Scientific innovation has been the key to an evolving world, and Molimau-Samasoni believes that inquisitive minds is the kind of thinking that lends to the science world and to making a difference in the world we live in.
SROS works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa, this is a marriage that demonstrates the PWA theme – the enhancement of partnerships to sustainably develop agriculture in Samoa.
#pwasamoa2019 #sros #agricultureshow2019
Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries © 2019