Taro farmers target the export market
Story & photos by Unumoe Esera
APIA: Saturday 11 August, 2012: Members of the Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church have their sights set on exporting their local taro overseas.
Farmer Anasapi Mauigoa from Tiavi and Vaimoso said that with the success they have had locally they are looking to export overseas starting with our closest neighbors, New Zealand and Australia.
“We are planning to export one container of taro to New Zealand next year in June. Negotiations were discussed three months ago. We also have an interest in exporting our taro to Australia and America but we cannot take our shipment to the United States on a shipping vessel so we are trying to find an opportunity to take it by plane,” he said.
The taro will be sold through the SISDAC community in New Zealand.
Anasapi says that they decided to have a talomua (the first harvest) to display all the crops from their plantations and to show that the initiative of the church has become successful.
“Everything we have achieved has been through the person’s own efforts and hard labor. We all feel that we should hold another talomua next year in April after the visits to each plantation in September,” he said.
Some of the challenges they face as farmers is not having any assistance from any organizations or even the church and having to fund everything themselves on a limited income. “Our livestock, vegetables and taro is all produced by one’s own strength and is expected to earn a living for the livelihoods of our families,” he said.
Other challenges he said is having to buy the chemicals and fertilizers used for planting crops. “One box of chemicals costs $1000,” he said.
Anasapi said they have decided to display the livestock next year. They wanted to bring them this year but then delayed it until next year and focused only on the crops.
The talomua was held for two days and ends today. It took the church one year to plan it and this is the first year that it has been held. The crops are from plantations in Asau in Savaii, Malie, Tiavi, Vaimoso and Solosolo.