The proud Avele College students showing off their vegetables during the Agriculture three day show
By Julie Simati Fiu*
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 2017: It was a promising sign for Samoan agriculture when four Senior Colleges turned out top quality agricultural products for display at the three day Agricultural Show that came to a close yesterday.
Avele College, which traditionally was an agricultural college that trained agriculturists from Samoa and neighbouring countries like Cook Islands up until the late 1970’s, took the first class honours with their high quality vegetables.
Now following a conventional curriculum like all other colleges, the products they produce is a promising sign as government has been pushing for more Samoan students to take up scholarships available through the University of the South Pacific School of Agriculture at Alafua.
It is the first time that a category for the Agriculture Show has been opened to senior colleges on the theme “Enhancing the Partnership to Develop and Sustain Agriculture and Fisheries.”
It was an inspiration as well for students of the colleges that competed from Leifiifi College, Vaimauga College, Faleata College and Avele Collge.
Avele College that had been in the limelight recently for the wrong reasons, proved there was more and positive things they can produce such as high quality vegetables from the fertile land surrounding the college at Vailima.
The proud Avele and Faleata College students said it was great a project to show what they as students can do working together and using different ideas on how to plant various crops and trees.
“It is why we wanted to join this show and let everyone know what we can do and use in school.”
Avele College scooped the First Prize of $2000 tala and goods in kind, with Faleata College in 2nd place and Leifiifi College and Vaimauga College receiving consolation prizes for their efforts.
Overall, farmers from Savaii dominated the show and winning most of the prizes with the emergence of the traditional Samoan taro variety – Talo Niue – that was destroyed by the leaf blight in 1993, which a farmer from Aopo village in Savaii has managed to save a few shoots that he found still growing in his old patch.
The Ministry of Agriculture is taking a keen interest to use scientific efforts to multiply the remaining varieties as saved by this farmer.
*Julie Simati Fiu is a final year student with the Media and Journalism Programme at the National University of Samoa and is on a five weeks work experience stint with Talamua.