29 July 2021, Poutasi, Samoa. Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG) will be hosting a Jam, Pickle, and Chutney workshop in the village of Poutasi on Saturday, July 31st.
Over 20 women from around the Falealili district will participate in “Siamufest 2021” – a training on how to turn perishable produce into hygienically preserved products that can be sold year-round helping to increase household income.
Over 27,359 Samoan households produce crops such as taro, banana, and breadfruit. Most of these households are also surrounded by fruit trees such as tipolo, moli, and vi as well as are growing pineapple, pumpkin, and other fruits and vegetables that are easy to turn into preserved products.
SWAG President, Shelley Burich, explains, “During the recent Covid-19 lockdowns, we saw how our contracting economy affected village-based women and growers in our community. Taking the bounty of everyday produce and transforming it into a preserved product that is delicious and nutritious is one way to help women increase their weekly income and begin testing the waters as individual business owners.”
Siamufest 2021 will address the low rates of employment with high cost of living which places a heavy burden on many Samoan families and more so on young unemployed women. The need for low investment/high profit small businesses that can be managed at home can help increase monthly income dramatically.
Sharing the art of pickling, preserving, and jam-making and how to sell these products to new and online markets is a useful way for SWAG to help reduce financial burden.
SWAG promotes organic and natural farming practices and provides Women Growers and Farmers of Samoa with opportunities for business, networking, training, expanding knowledge, accessing local and international markets, and socializing in a supportive, open environment allowing for sharing of traditional, organic, and environmentally safe solutions to modern day agricultural needs.
Siamufest is funded by the U.S. Embassy Apia Public Diplomacy Small Grants Scheme which is a small competitive program offering grants of up to USD $10,000 to non-government organizations to strengthen democracy, engage youth, promote U.S.-Samoa links, address environmental and health issues, advance science, and technology, increase respect for civil society and the rule of law, advance human rights and women’s rights, or promote regional security. The grant will fund SWAG to host 2 workshops in Upolu, 2 workshops in Savaii, and the printing of Instruction manuals in Samoan for all participants.