Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi spoke to officially open Samoa’s 2nd National Farmers Forum, held at Tuanaimato last week.
Reverend Uta Muaulu,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to greet you this morning and to officially open the second national forum for our farmers, and those engaged in floriculture and the processing of produce from our land.
The forum will also acknowledge and celebrate your role in the development of our agriculture sector, and also sharing information and learning from your successes through challenges and experiences. Since our inaugural forum held in September 2018, fora like today help our farmers to organize themselves to engage in dialogue with our government and development partners, to better plan our development targets and outcomes.
Whilst we reflect on many global challenges such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged by the progress of our people and our spiritual engagement in that we are founded on God.
Our village communities are largely reliant on agriculture and fisheries-based livelihoods, and the majority of our farmers are at subsistent and semi-subsistent levels. But it is great to observe that some of you are increasingly moving towards semi-commercial and commercial farmers.
It is known that the private sector is the driver of economic growth. Similarly, our farmers are also the driver of national growth. You are the individuals that invest time, energy and resources in working the land in harvesting its bounties for our use and prosperity.
As such, you are the catalyst of growth in today’s highly sophisticated and competitive environment, and the good news is, we are on the way to make Samoan agriculture become more competitive in today’s market economy, with the assistance of our development partners.
Agriculture continues to be an important source of employment, food and nutrition security, import substitution and export opportunities, as emphasised in our Samoa Development Strategy and Agriculture Sector Plan. Our government will prioritise enhanced partnerships with the private sector and farmer organisations, to increase the depth and quality of agricultural research, as well as see more comprehensive and widespread adoption of the results, via strong agricultural extension services.
In closing, agriculture is our forte and it is a field that we know very well, and my government over the next five to ten years will prioritise agriculture, food security and exports, as the economic objectives that will drive the development of Samoa.
I would like to acknowledge the financial support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and other development partners, channelled through the Pacific Island Farmers Organisations Network (PIFON). I would also like to congratulate our Samoa Farmers Association for the coordination of this forum on behalf of our farmers.
With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare this forum officially open.