The possibilities for agricultural value addition and export in Samoa were highlighted at the Chamber of Commerce monthly members’ meeting held on Monday evening at the SBEC conference room.
For the past year, Women in Business production manager, Stephen Hazelman has focused on increasing exports at Women In Business.
The non-governmental organisation hosted the members’ meeting. They provided a speaker as well as umu food, sourced from its organic farmers, and dessert in the form of Sticky Misiluki Pudding, baked by Paddles Restaurant in Matautu, using Women in Business dried bananas.
“We know now the capacity of our seven virgin organic coconut oil processors, so we can predict our export quantities,” says Hazelman. “Last year we exported 36 tonnes of oil to the UK and the US that was worth more than $400,000.
“Also we are looking at other commodities such as coffee, vanilla, dried bananas and even lemon grass teas.”
Hazelman explained how Women in Business, with the support of donor partners such as the NZ Aid Programme and Oxfam NZ, work with rural families to produce a sustainable income through their farms without having to leave the villages.
He also mentioned that the organisation is licensed by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia to monitor certified organic compliance in Samoa, and acknowledged the Samoa Government for covering the cost of annual organic certification.
“Anyone who is interested in becoming organically certified can come to the WIBDI office, see our staff and start the process,” says Hazelman.
“By default most of our farmers are organic because they have been practising natural farming for generations. Certified organic is another step up that requires monitoring but in the end, you get more money for your exports.”
Currently there are 651 certified organic farmers in Samoa.
Chamber Vice-President Peseta Margaret Malua, who chaired the meeting, warmly thanked Women in Business, for hosting the meeting and said they were the first private sector organisation to do so.
Peseta encouraged other private organisations such as the Samoa Association of Exporters and Manufacturers and the Samoa Hotels Association to do the same.
New members welcomed to the Chamber his month were Ford Samoa Ltd, Nezian Salon Day Spa, Samoa Air and Strickland Ltd.
Commenting on the meeting, Chamber CEO Ane Moananu said: “It is inspiring to see what WIBDI is achieving. The Chamber, as Samoa’s national private sector organisation (NPSO), supports and encourages sustainable, profitable business growth.”
Posted: Thu 11 Apr 2013