24th October, 2019 Salelologa Savaii: The Samoa Federated Farmers Incorporated facilitated an awareness campaign in Savaii this week with the support of the Civil Society Support Program (CSSP).
The Federated Farmers project focuses on “Commercial Kava Plantations for Export” and their awareness campaign held in Salelologa saw 30 farmers receive farming equipment and kava plants to help initiate and boost kava plantations for export.
According to the SFFI President, Afioga Saena Penaia Mulitalo, one of the core objectives of their project is to promote commercial farming in the rural communities for high valued crops such as kava and cocoa, and untimately increase export earnings.
He says SFFI had identified and are moving the three most common problems encountered by vulnerable communities in the rural areas.
Firstly, the rural areas rely mainly on subsistence farming as a way of generating income for the family, for consumption and to meet other obligations such as church, family commitments and fa’alavelaves. The poor standard of living in remote areas is believed to be one of the causes in the decline of agricultural produce for export. The perpetual demands for family obligations strain their income; therefore farmers cannot afford to implement agricultural projects.
The seasonal workers programme for New Zealand and Australia has substantially affected the village economy. More people are in search of opportunities to be recruited for seasonal work hence the decline in agricultural productivity.
The transformation process from subsistence farming to commercial is considered to be strenuous; but support is offered to rural farmers by the SFFI to enhance their standard of living through pursuing commercial goals, in order to acquire sustainable income for their families.
The aim for the SFFI’s “kava project” is to provide rural farmers an alternative besides cocoa and coconut for export.
Despite 4 years of labour before kava can be harvested, SFFI believes that it gives farmers an intermediate crop – between short-term to medium.
In addition to the awareness campaign to promote kava commercial farming, the SFFI has established a kava nursery, and established more than 500 acres of land for kava planting.
CSSP is an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) fund for NGOs.
CSSP as the funding entity acknowledges the efforts by SFFI in facilitating this program that provides support to vulnerable farmers in the communities to enhance their standard of living by growing kava primarily for export.