Sixty-one farmer and fishers from Savaii signed Matching Grant Agreements on Friday at Apita o Pisaga Hall in Salelologa marking a significant milestone for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in their work implementing the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project (SAFPROM).
CEO for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Tilafono David Hunter said this is an important breakthrough in the progress of the SAPFROM project since it was signed in 2019 between the Government of Samoa and their key donor partners, World Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development.
“When SAFPROM was officially signed, we received over 3,000 applications for the Matching Grant Progamme (MGP) from around the country. The large numbers of applications went through a comprehensive screening and verification process last year,” said Tilafono.
“Since then 1,305 farmers and fishers have been approved to receive assistance through the MGP to help boost their productivity and improve their access to markets”
“During these times of uncertainty we need to keep the momentum going with the development of agriculture and fisheries. We are very pleased to arrive at this milestone and realise this at the farmer and fisher level. At the same time we are continuing our work through the project to put in place the infrastructure to help continue and sustain increased production and productivity.”
Fugalaau Kuini, a vegetable grower from Fusi was among the 61 farmers and fishers who signed their agreement and she was excited to begin work on extending her vegetable operation,
“I just want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Government of Samoa because for us here in Savaii we look for these types of opportunities and we seldom have them. So it’s awesome to have this opportunity and I’m thankful.”
The owner of the largest Poultry farm in Samoa, Toleafoa Suafao Siliake Lewer from Pu’apu’a was also pleased to begin work on extending his operation by utilising the SAFPROM grant towards much needed wire fencing.
“I am very happy to come through this type of programme especially because they have explained to us how to run a sustainable business.” Said Toleafoa “They’ve also provided us with record books which is going help me to keep a record of all my incoming and outgoing expenses. I find this very useful.”
ACEO for the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector Co-ordination Division (AFSCD), Dr Ramona Stephanie Sulifoa says last week’s Grant Signing Event with farmers and fishers marks a new chapter for the SAFPROM Project.
“There have been challenges along the way with managing over a thousand approved MGP farmers and making sure they are compliant with all the Projects requirements which is why reaching this milestone is so important and satisfying.” Said Dr Ramona “We are looking forward to seeing the next groups of farmers and fishers sign their Grant Agreements this year as we are eager to work with them to ensure we have enough food locally and increase production to target our markets.”
She added “In the mean time we continue to work with our remaining approved MGP farmers and fishers undergoing mandatory trainings, to help push them towards the finish line.”