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What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

HRPP Samoa News
Jul 19

Convent Street first phase in capital development

Manu'alesagalala Enokati Posala

Convent Street will be the first of many connecting road arteries around the perimeter of the capital.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the opening of the $3.9 million road at Tauese last Friday.

Said Prime Minister Tuilaepa,

“These roads are not being built for elections every five years. They are being built for the next fifty years. We are laying down the road infrastructure for the future of the capital city and Apia environs.”

Convent Street through the Marist Brother School to Togafu’afu’a

The Prime Minister said another road being planned, includes a connecting artery through the Marist Brother School to Togafu’afu’a.

“The vision is to develop the necessary infrastructure to support the future growth of the city.”

The Convent Street project was built in two phases. The first phase was from the corner of Matafele Street to the Marist Brothers Bridge contracted to King Construction at a cost of $1.6 million. The second phase completed the road to Leifiifi Street – through the Police Station. This was contracted to Ulia Construction.

“The road had to be lifted a few meters as this whole area is underwater and experiences heavy flooding during the wet season,” said Tuilaepa.

Total cost of the 340-meter road was put at $3.9 million.

Convent Street Project opens

Author: Tupuola Terry Tavita of Savali
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Jul 19

Ola i Fanua program launched

Ola-i-Fanua Horticulture Foundation programme

A programme to develop horticulture and viticulture know-how in the rural areas was launched last Friday at the Tourism Fale, Eleele Fou.

Funded by the New Zealand government, the Ola-i-Fanua Horticulture Foundation programme seeks to introduce training in such diverse fields as flower arrangement, soil fertilization, fruit tree husbandry, etc.

Launching the programme, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said there is much Samoa does not know about farming.

“For instance, we have been planting talo for generations yet there is much we don’t know about cultivating the best talo for consumption and export,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.”

Ola i Fanua Group

The Prime Minister said he was particularly happy with courses on botany and flower arrangement, vegetable gardening and fruit tree husbandry.

“Areas like pot-planting and flower decoration yields a lot of money. Florists in the country are charging a lot of money for businesses and government offices who hire their plants or purchase bouquets. Those who supply flowers to these florists are also getting good return. We have the right weather and soil fertility for flowering plants to flourish.

“It’s an industry a lot of our people in the village can get into. A lot of farmers can diversify to. A lot of tourists are also drawn to botanical gardens and greenhouses and make it a must to visit these businesses while in the country.”

The programme involves a training of trainers course as well as its focus on training selected trainees from the villages.

Ola i Fanua Group

Author: Tupuola Terry Tavita of Savali
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Jul 19

Cocoa, coffee projects fruiting

Koko Samoa

Cocoa is making a strong comeback on the back of a successful agro-forestry stimulus package government implemented three years ago.

According to Crops Assistant CEO Misa Konelio, there are now some 400 small-scale cocoa farmers across the country.

“We haven’t had much success with coffee though,” he said.

“Farmers are a bit hesitant to grow coffee because they are not sure of the markets. Plus they’re not used to coffee growing.

“Cocoa on the other hand has always been a mainstay in many villages. We now have about 400 small-scale farmers growing over 800 acres of cocoa in both Upolu and Savaii apart from the major cocoa growing companies.”

In 2010, government initiated an agro-forestry package targeting small farmers.

(L - R) Savali Editor, Tupuola Terry Tavita, Crops Assistant CEO Misa Konelio and Senior Officer, Fata Alo Fania

“The reality in the village today is that a household today comprises of a father and his son. So we targeted the small 2-acre farm growing a mix of cocoa, coffee, coconut and some other timber trees.

“The three-year project has been very successful and we are about to pay-out the final subsidy. It coincides with harvesting of the trees they plated back in 2010.

“We also know that the big cocoa farmers like Papu Vaai in Asau and Saena Penaia’s plantation at Lafi have been very successful in recent years. They have been exporting their own cocoa overseas to their manufacturers.”

Misa said his staff had just completed a survey of cocoa trees in Savai’i and have been encouraged by the results.

“The international price for top quality cocoa at the moment is $15 per kilo. That’s very good money. Samoa has perhaps the best, the most sought-after cocoa pods in the world. The Trinitario variety introduced by the Germans is regarded as the best in the world, sought after the big chocolate manufacturing companies.

“Not only is this variety growing well in both Upolu and Savaii, but we are very happy with the enthusiasm shown by the farmers in growing and maintaining their trees. We are also happy that they are getting rid of the inferior and very bitter Solomon cocoa (Anelanedo) variety in their properties. I’d say, only about 5 percent of the cocoa trees in the country now are Anelanedo and they (farmers) are getting rid of it.”

Arabica (Maragogipe)

COFFEE

Earlier this month, government hosted a group led by Australian senator John Williams. It was interested in setting up a 50-acre pilot farm to teach farmers how to grow coffee. The team included a coffee expert from France.

“We have been notified by the Deputy Prime Minister on this project and our staff is very enthusiatic about it,” said Misa.

“I believe a 50-acre plot at Aleisa has been earmarked for that project. I believe they have also secured a market for local coffee beans overseas. That is excellent news because the bigges drawback at the moment for local farmers is the lack of a viable market for coffee.”

Also introduced by the Germans back in the 19th century, the Arabica (Maragogipe) is a top premium coffee bean. It was rediscovered at several old German farms in recent years in a coffee project spearheaded by the Women in Business Development (WiBDI) group.

Misa said his station has already propagated thousands of Arabica seedlings and delivered it to interested farmers.

A recent survey, Misa said, indicates development of the rural farming community is beset by several problems.

“The major problem is a decline in the rural labour force. Many have moved into town or overseas and farming in the villages is hampered by a shortage of young people. The seasonal worker schemes with New Zealand and Australia does not help. Hopefully, these positive developments in cocoa and coffee will encourage more young people to stay in the village and get back into agriculture.”

Misa said, a unit at the Crops station has been assigned to concentrate exclusively on cocoa and coffee and research the potential of other potential crop trees.

Author: Tupuola Terry Tavita of Savali
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Jul 19

Samoa first to access US$4 million for solar power project

Signing off: MWTI Minister Manualesagalala Enokati Posala, Japanese representative for PIF dealings in Fiji Yutaka Yoshizawa, PIF Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade and Deputy Prime Minister Fonotoe Pierre Meredith

Samoa is the first country to access US$4million under the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund.

The PEC Fund is a dedication of 6.8 billion Yen (US$66 million) by the Japanese Government to support Forum Island Country (FIC) projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and desalination plants, or a combination of both.

The US$4 million PEC Fund allocation for Samoa will, in its entirety, go towards the Samoa 400kWp Solar PV Project, to be managed by the Electric Power Corporation (EPC).

At the signing ceremony held last Friday in Apia, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, congratulated Samoa for being the first FIC to access its country allocation.

“I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan and its people for this generous contribution, which will no doubt assist the Government of Samoa in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions through the use of renewable energy options, and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”

Tuiloma added that he looked forward to other countries of the region tapping in to the PEC Fund.

“It is encouraging to note that most countries are making significant progress in the development of their detailed project proposals to access the PEC Fund and the Secretariat looks forward to receiving them in due course.”

Also at the signing ceremony, held at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, was Japan’s Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Yutaka Yoshizawa, who is responsible for Japan-PIF relations while stationed in Fiji.

“I wish Samoa success in the implementation of this project, so that this will be a great model for future projects under the PEC Fund,” said the Ambassador. “I hope that many other projects under the PEC Fund will be formalised in the near future for all 14 Forum Island Countries.”

Samoa’s Minister for Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Manualesagalala Enokati Posala said, “This project will provide a number of benefits to the EPC and the people of Samoa.”

“It is expected that this project will displace approximately 135,000 litres of fuel per annum. This represents SAT 350,000 in fuel cost savings as well as a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

EPC General Manager, Muaausa Joseph Walter said Samoa relies heavily on imported fossil fuels to meet its energy needs including power generation.

“About 40% of Samoa’s total electricity production is generated from hydro, with the rest from two diesel power plants and a very small percentage from solar power,” said Muaausa.

He said that with the unpredictable price of fuel and the impact of climate change and climate variability on the region, the EPC has faced a number of problems in trying to provide reliable and affordable electricity to the nation.

“Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is a proven technology and with the abundant resource available, Samoa can benefit from the additional and secure energy supply.”

He also explained that the PV systems would not have batteries for power storage, as the harnessed energy will feed directly in to the national power grid.

“This is less expensive as there are no battery cells to charge up and maintain,” he said.

Although the initial project is only for the generation of 400kWp of electricity (enough to power three villages), this is anticipated to be a stepping stone for future projects that will reduce the EPC’s and Samoa’s reliance on fossil fuels for power generation, resulting in significant fuel and electricity cost savings.

Secretary General Slade further welcomed Samoa’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“It is well-acknowledged that the role of our island nations in the causes of global climate change is miniscule, though the impact on them is great and the security and sustainability of our countries are highly at risk,” he said.

“Now is the time to act and I commend the Government of Samoa for its efforts to mitigate against the impacts of climate change through the generous contribution of the Government of Japan.”

“For a project such as this one to be effective and sustainable, clear linkages need to be established between the relevant national, regional and international development priorities,” added Tuiloma.

“Samoa’s project does exactly this, by linking the Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2008-12 and the Samoa National Energy Policy, with international and regional policies and plans, including the Millennium Development Goals, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Pacific Plan, Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006-15 and the recently endorsed Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific,” he said.

Tuiloma added that making such linkages was also in line with Forum Leaders’ commitment under the Forum Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination endorsed in 2009.

“I encourage the implementers of Samoa’s 400kWp Solar PV Project, EPC, to continually report on the impacts and outcomes of this project through the various national, regional and international instruments, and wish the Government of Samoa every success in the implementation of this important project.”

Some background information about the PEC Fund.

In May of 2009 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders met with the Government of Japan at the 5th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) in Hokkaido, Japan. At the PALM 5 Summit, Leaders issued the Islanders’ Hokkaido Declaration which reaffirmed Leaders’ commitment to collaborate and cooperate on wide range of issues.

A significant part of the Declaration was the launch of the PEC Fund, under which Japan provided a 6.8 billion Yen contribution to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. A PEC Project Management Unit (PMU) has been set up at the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, tasked with administering and managing the PEC Fund. The PMU is guided by a Joint Committee (JC), chaired by the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) comprising nominated experts in the fields of climate change, renewable energy, water and sanitation has been set up to appraise project proposals and make recommendations to the JC.

Author: Renate Rivers (Savali)
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