By: Asenati Taugasolo Semu
Savali Newspaper
Edited by: SROS IT Team

Three taro farmers in Upolu are praising the Government’s initiative to take the agricultural food processing to the next level through the establishment of the Nafanua Pure Processing Plant, under the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoas’ (SROS).
A taro farmer from Fasitoo-uta Siaosi Pita welcomes the initiative as a sustainable market during pandemics like the COVID-19 which he says is taking a toll on his income selling power.


Taro is one of the essential ingredients used by SROS to process Samoa Whiskey available on Duty Free international outlets, with long term plans to fully commercialised the Whiskey for export and local markets.
“This is good news to my family because at this time of the COVID 19, our income from selling taro has dropped, and I welcome the establishment of this factory to process whiskey from taro,” said Pita.

He said before the pandemic, he sold 30 baskets of taro in three hours at the Fugalei market, but now, it takes him nearly a whole day to try and sell all his taro, if it’s a good day. On bad days, Pita says that he “prays for divine intervention.”
“I see the big difference and the people are not really buying taro like they used to. There were people who used to come and took all my baskets of taro, but now, I have to try and sell as much as possible on a daily basis.”
From Samatau, Iulio Tuivaiti echoes similar hardships.
“I’m sure all farmers in Samoa will support the Government and continue to work the land to make sure there are sufficient produce for our factory,” said Tuivaiti.
“I’m positive that in the next 30 years, with the farmers’ support, our factory will produce secondary products for our people for sustainable food security and affordable for everyone.

“I’m sure this factory will inspire many farmers to work hard and more people to work the land.”
As for Karameli Iosefa of Siusega, who depend on her plantations to provide for her family she says this is a new window of opportunities for farmers like herself.
“I want to thank the Government for this great development. The Government has initiated programmes and developments to boost our economy and at the same time, greatly benefit us farmers,” she added.

“This avenue is much easier for us to earn money and sell our taro and bananas. I acknowledge SROS for the initiative to export frozen produce overseas, and now Government is again providing us with this great opportunity to sell our produce and provide employment for our people.”
Announced by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during the Cabinet Development Committee recent on-site visits, the establishment of the Nafanua Pure Factory is an economic initiative by SROS to set the pathway through partnerships with the private sector to commercialise its agricultural products for exports.

“Through the Factory, it will provide a new revenue source for our farmers and that means money for their families day to day needs, their children’s education to mention a few spin-offs,” said the Prime Minister reiterating that it is also in line with the Strategy for the Development of Samoa’s Key Outcome, which states that Agriculture and Fisheries are important contributors to Samoa’s future growth and development.
“This Government continues to explore new opportunities that will benefit the livelihood of our people, farmers included,” reassured the Prime Minister.
The Nafanua Pure Factory is to begin operation within the next 12 months.
It is funded under the Government’s COVID-19 Stimulus Package.