12 May 2021: The Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project (SAFPROM) marked another milestone in its progress last week when 61 farmers and fishers from Savaii utilized their Matching Grant disbursements towards the purchase of hardware goods and supplies.
Under the SFPROM Matching Grants Programme (MGP) funding is made available to eligible farmers for the purchase of new and innovative equipment (from wire fencing, high quality chainsaws to safety gear etc) to help save time and money and boost their productivity.
The grant disbursements took a total of 5 days to complete led by the SAFPROM team from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries who co-coordinated and monitored the purchase orders of each farmer and fisher at various hardware stores in the Salelologa Township.
MGP recipient and Savaiian cattle farmer, Faalii Peseta of Matavai Safune was able to purchase much needed equipment and tools like shovels, stable nails, wire- strainer and safety gear at the Samoa Agriculture Store on the first day of disbursements.
The 33 year old said he has grown up in a farming family and now he and his brother are responsible for looking after the cattle farm. Faalii has set himself a goal and wants to extend his cattle farm with an eye on turning it into a viable business to support the family,
“I’ve grown up around farming all my life and now it’s our turn to look after our family cattle farm. Ever since the start of the global pandemic I began to look at farming more seriously because I can see it’s the only way to survive during a pandemic season.” Said Faalii
“My plan is to become a cattle multiplier and a business man in Savaii” said Faalii.
“Praise God that we are able to come here and collect our hardware tools and equipment from this project through the MAF. We didn’t expect that we can get this kind of help so I want to thank the Ministry because this will go a long way in helping to develop my farm so we are really grateful for this project.”
MGP Manager, Auimatagi Luaiufi Aiono says despite many delays and setbacks in rolling out the Matching Grants Programme, they are thankful to all the different stakeholders for their collaborative effort in pursuit of a shared goal to see direct assistance to farmers and fishers, especially now with the ongoing impact of the global pandemic on the economy.
“With the ripple effects of COVID19 worldwide, everything has been affected” said Aiumatagi. “The emphasis and demand on the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector locally in terms of food supply could not be stressed enough. Therefore, providing intervention through direct assistance to the farmers and fishers (and in a timely manner) is crucial.”
“Ensuring these grant disbursements are able to go out within a year of processing over 3000 applications and then going through registrations, verifications and training was a massive undertaking but it proves that it’s possible with enough persistence and commitment from the team in collaboration with different stakeholders in the sector”
So far over 300 approved farmers and fishers from Savaii have completed their trainings and are waiting for the approval of their business plans before moving on to sign their Grant Agreements.
Auimatagi said their priority at this time is to focus on the remaining trainings and business development for the eligible applicants in Upolu while also ensuring that farmers and fishers who have received their disbursements continue to receive support.
“For those that have already received their disbursements in Savaii, support will now be concentrated in terms of monitoring and evaluation and the technical trainings which are to be provided by the Crops Division, Animal Production and Health Division (APHD), Fisheries Division and the Ministry support services in Savaii.”