2 June 2022 Apia Samoa Logoi and Savali Mariner started a weekly ritual in January this year, after they opened up savings accounts for each of their grandchildren who help out with day to day chores on their family farm.
As a way to teach them the value of hard work and importance of planning for their future, Logoi and Savali Mariner of Salelavalu and their six grandchildren can be seen lining up to deposit their weekly earnings at their local bank branch in Salelologa, Savaii.
“We are a farming family and we work together” said Mr Mariner. “Each of my grandchildren help out on the farm and learn that hard work deserves good pay so they get to bank their pocket money they earn each week on Friday after we finish work on the farm.”
“They get very excited when we go to the bank and have learned to fill out their own deposit slips and stand in line. The bank tellers know we are regulars and they are always welcoming to our little ones and it makes me proud that one day my grandchildren will teach this to their children.”
“I want to teach them that if ever something happens to me, you can make a living from the land, and all you have to do is sweat to earn it. Not everybody can be an academic but at least they know that there are other ways to make a living and self-grow their own food supply,” says Logoi Mariner.
“My farm is like a classroom and my grandchildren know how to grow and transplant every type of seedling. They get excited when we talk about harvesting season because they all have their own plants that they have been growing and pruning, especially their cocoa trees.”
“I am very proud of how they apply what they learn when it comes to growing food and I can see that they will break the cycle of depending on loans when they get older. When they reach the age of eighteen (18), they will be allowed to cash their own money to go towards their education or business.”
Mr Mariner has been a full time farmer for over 50 years and is one of the most experienced commercial farmers in Savaii supplying the local supermarkets in Salelologa. He works on 1.5 acres of residential customary lands, and also has 5 acres of land further inland in Salelavalu. He demonstrates that agricultural and horticultural knowledge can go a long way to effectively and efficiently manage and maximise mixed crop production and earn a good living.
“As a farmer I will always look for ways to better my way of growing or to extend my crops.. I never feel like the work I do is enough and I always end up growing more than I planned.” He said.
“Around our home there is no more space – there are vegetables from corner to corner because we have used up every bit of land area. We never have to worry about food, we have an abundance of vegetables and fruit around our home that we can eat at any time and sell off for income.”
“We have been taught so many things by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries about crop rotation, mixed cropping and we have used those practices over the years. All these years I have been farming, all I need to do is look at my crops and I know exactly what I need to change in order to improve them,” he adds.
Last year Mr Mariner received support from the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project (SAFPROM) through its Matching Grant Program currently being implemented by the Ministry to help boost the productivity and production of his agribusiness.
“We intend to develop our poultry farm not only to add another stream of income but also to use the chicken manure as fertilizer for our vegetable crops” he said.” We are thankful for the assistance in acquiring tools, materials and equipment such as a vegetable seeds, a machete, weed sprayer, 1000-litre water tank and 50 metres of chicken wire to keep out the pigs so they don’t ruin our produce. We never used to have these tools before and it helps make farming life a lot easier.”
The World Bank Pacific and International Fund Agriculture Development (IFAD) funded SAFPROM Project is in its third year of implementation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and aims to increase the productivity and access to markets by selected producers through its Matching Grant Program.
The Project not only complements the Ministry’s long term goals to build sustainable livelihoods and increase food and nutrition security but also supports the agriculture and fisheries sector who have been affected by the global pandemic.
To date, 1300 farmers and fishers have accessed funds to purchase farming and fishing supplies, equipment and tools to help support sustainable businesses and increase their outputs.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.