The gloves were off at Samoa’s Savaii Agricultural Show and the competition, as always, was fierce.
Yet the organic farmers working with Oxfam’s partner, Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), hauled an impressive 33 of the major prizes ranging from the prize for overall best organic farm to the best coffee, best vanilla, best cocoa and many more.
“The array of prizes reflects the quality of organic produce in Savaii. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that good quality agricultural produce can be grown organically and without chemical fertilisers. We are pleased that the Ministry recognises that quality,” said WIBDI Programme Manager, Alberta Malielegaoi.
Women in Business had a stall at the show to display their export products such as the organic, virgin coconut oil and the high-quality, fresh produce of the organic farmers. Traditional fine-mat weavers also demonstrated their craftwork. With WIBDI’s support, traditional mat weaving projects have flourished into a new local industry and some groups are even exporting their crafts overseas.
Growing jobs and incomes
|A special prize was given to Isaako Aipovi, an organic farmer from Satupaitea, for his tractor decorated with crops and vegetables.|
Oxfam has been working with WIBDI for over ten years. We’re working together to identify opportunities for generating incomes and creating jobs in rural villages, instead of people being forced to move away to urban areas to look for work or having to depend on remittances from relatives.
Organic farming has had a huge impact in Samoa by helping families increase their incomes through higher prices for crops. WIBDI now works with 645 farms, and over 30,000 hectares of land is now used for organic farming.
“Our relationship with Oxfam New Zealand is one of WIBDI’s strongest relationships, built on mutual trust, respect and support. Rather than seeking to fund individual projects with set time frames, Oxfam has helped us develop into a strong, accountable and flexible organisation that has had the ability to take advantages of new opportunities as they arise,” said Adimaimalaga Tafuna'i, Executive Director of WIBDI.
With Oxfam’s support, WIBDI's intention is to establish a Samoan organic farming industry based on the principles of fair trade that will provide rural families the opportunity to improve their standard of living and contribute to the development of Samoa. Fairtrade certification would will bring prioritised access to niche international markets.