Farmers discuss with MAF how to spend USD$24.45m

Some of the Upolu farmers at today’s meeting with MAF officials

By Faye Seiuli

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2019: The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries today met with Upolu farmers to discuss projects to spend USD$24.45m under the “Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing (SAFPROM)” project.

SAFPROM Project aims at increasing agricultural production and fisheries markets, improve the management of natural sources in agriculture and prepare strategic plans for response during natural disasters and emergencies affecting agriculture.

It is funded by the World Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) at USD$24.45m.

MAF’s Chief Executive Officer, Tilafono David Hunter said this is the first consultation in Upolu and it is a presentation on the guidelines of the project and projects the farmers can benefit from the fund.

MAF officials Magele Etuati Ropati, CEO Tilafono David Hunter, and Tawfiq El-Zabri from IFAD

The Ministry met with Savaii farmers last week and was also an introduction to make farmers understand the support services, guidelines, regulations and policies and benefits of this funding.

The Country Programme Manager for IFAD, Tawfiq El-Zabri said the IFAD funding this year is for Savaii only, but other benefits cost implications in the future will again bless Upolu.

“Starting in Savai’i, this is to improve mix cropping systems. We need a lot of engagement with farmers, so we don’t want to cover the whole country at once because we want to focus first on 9 districts in Savaii and when that works we can expand later,” said Tawfiq El-Zabri told Talamua.

“We are dealing with farmers who are very traditional and basic and we want them to become more productive, so it requires really a lot of work with communities even the Matais and the community system,” he added.

The Ministry will host further consultation to prepare the design performance of the project.