Organic Coconut Farmers Receive Farming Tools and Equipment

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25 June 2021: Over 800 organic farmers registered with Serendi Coco and Women in Business Development Inc. will benefit from a Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR ECR Project), following a handover of farming tools and equipment facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries last Friday.

The ceremony took place at the Crops division in Nuu and was attended by representatives of the local organisations as well as representatives from villages and districts participating under the PPCR ECR Project.

A total of 4,938 items are to be distributed to eligible farmers which include machetes, drainage spades, planting sticks, secauteurs, pruning saws, sharpening tools, chainsaws and pig fencing.

In his opening remarks the Caretaker Minister Lopao’o Natanielu Mua thanked Serendi Coco and WIBDI for their work and on-going support to farmers and called for the local organisations to focus on helping their most vulnerable farmers when distributing the tools and equipment.

“Thank you to our Non-Government agencies Serendi Coco and WIBDI for the work well done and on-going support – we have proven that the multidisciplinary approach worked and as a team we have assisted each other to achieve and successfully complete this project. I call upon your organizations to please help the most vulnerable farmers because those farmers who have little or no jobs are working hard to develop their plantations” said Lopao’o.

With 147 eligible farmers in their registry, WIBDI Representative, Fuimaono Rosalia Polataivao said the assistance was timely given that the organization had recently invited new families to join the organic farmers under their coconut replanting scheme and the tools and equipment would encourage them to work the land rather than rely on chemicals.

“We are very happy with the help MAF has given us especially since our work is targeting the most vulnerable families in our registry whom we have invited through our replanting scheme to join the organic farmers. All these farmers are new except the ones from our certified villages in Savaii who have been working with us for almost a decade now and are included in our replanting scheme so we want to encourage these new organic farmers to keep on planting coconuts because this niche market is the most sustainable for them and for Samoa as a whole.”

Local business Serendi Coco had the largest share of beneficiaries in their registry with 860 farmers set to receive new tools and equipment. 

Co-Managing Director of Serendi Coco, Tuai Peter Ripley said operating under organic principles has been a challenging concept for Samoan farmers to adopt after years of using chemicals to clear the land but equipping farmers with resources can help towards breaking those habits.

“We thank the donors that we have another avenue to reward our farmers, especially our small holder farmers who supply 80 per cent of our coconuts” said Tuai. “We appreciate KVA Consultants for having the confidence in us to deliver this project and we also salute the Minister and Ministry for their continuous support and recognition of the private sector as a trusted partner in developing agriculture in Samoa.”

“We hope for more opportunities and funding to stimulate our farmers to develop the land… We will continue to work with our farmers and encourage them to replant coconuts because if we don’t do it now, our industry will face enormous struggles in the future. We are looking first to assess what our farmers need and strike a balance between rewarding the farmers who have supplied the most while also helping those who are trying to develop.”

The tools and equipment were funded by the PPCR ECR Project through the World Bank. A project that began in 2009 and officially closed last week.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture the project has benefitted100 villages and 22 districts through sub-projects.

“The peojects aimed at enhancing community resilience by developing and implementing immediate and urgent activities to assist targeted communities of Samoa adapt to climate variability and climate change”.