(PRESS RELEASE- 29th December 2021)
The village of Letui, Savaii wrapped up this year with a vibrant celebration of the Talomua Festival on Wednesday 29th December, aimed at encouraging youth to take up agricultural production and development for their livelihoods.
The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi along with his Associate Minister and executive management team attended the day’s festivities. The event started off with a lively and colourful parade of youth and children proudly showcasing decorative floats, representing families competing for prizes at the Talomua.
In his speech, Hon. Laauli congratulated the Letui community for successfully hosting their first Talomua. He stated that the festival is an opportunity to encourage youth to actively participate in showcasing the village’s agricultural production and development. He also emphasized the importance of planting more crops to safeguard Samoa’s food and nutrition security and re-iterated the government’s commitment to strengthening grassroots communities with a direct assistance approach.
The Talomua Festival featured a Growers Market where Letui farmers showcased their best crops and livestock to the Judges’ panel, and as part of their role in supporting the village-led agriculture event, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries delivered tools, seedlings and farming equipment including financial assistance to go towards prizes for the winning farmers.
CEO Tilafono David Hunter says Letui’s Talomua, was a success due to the entire village coming together to organize and stage the event with enthusiasm and commitment.
“Letui village put a lot of effort into making their Talomua event a success and it was especially good to see the youth were excited to participate.” Said Tilafono “the outer villages are still growing their food daily because there’s no market and we want to continue and strengthen this tradition through Talomua because not only is it vital to our food security and nutrition but excess quality produce can contribute to our export markets. When Talomua starts again in the new financial year we will be looking at conducting the event in the traditional districts and introducing more ways to strengthen linkages to markets for farmers, especially the youth.”
Letui’s agricultural event is the fourth Talomua festival held this month as part of the Ministry’smove to implement the new changes, transitioning from the centralised annual agriculture show to a series of events driven by the communities.
The revival of the Talomua concept is the Hon Minister’s initiative to replace the annual Agriculture show with the provincial based Talomua festivals which Tilafono says will lead to more active and meaningful participation from rural villages who can take ownership of their event with support from the Ministry.
“Previously, the annual Agriculture show was very costly and time consuming for the Ministry to stage with the bulk of the money going towards setting up the venue” said Tilafono. “Our staff especially our technical people were occupied 4-5 months out of the year with assessing farmer’s plantations and cattle farms around the country. Hosting the show in the main town centre of Upolu and Savaii also discouraged rural farmers from attending or participating in the Agriculture Show unless they were receiving a prize. Talomua will change this by redirecting the funds to support the village in driving the festival themselves with the support of the Ministry.”