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Hon. Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries – Speech at the Ava growing Guide and Chemotype Awareness Workshop.

SAMOA, April 11 - H.E. Si’alei Van Toor, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa

Representatives from the Australian High Commssion,

Head of the MDF in the Pacific

Government Ministries, NGOs, Farmers, producers, processors, exporters

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we gather here for the Ava growing Guide and Chemotype Awareness Workshop, I am pleased to address you all as we witness the fruition of collaborative efforts to empower our Ava industry and export capacity.

I wish to acknowledge the governments of Australia and New Zealand for their generous support. Through the Market Development Facility (MDF) Programme, jointly funded by Australia and New Zealand, we have received invaluable assistance that has enabled us to address pressing challenges in our agricultural sector. To Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, and H.E. Si’alei Van Toor, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa – our sincere thanks.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Market Development Facility (MDF) project team in Samoa, and the Samoa Herbs for their dedication and commitment to this cause.

Ava is a Samoa national drink that is synonymous to Samoan way of life that signifies peace and deep root of respect. The Samoan Ava, has been integral to our culture for centuries. Ava is remains as an important Samoan domestic and export cash crop, grown by subsistence farmers and larger commercial growers. The success of the Ava was because we have huge markets for Ava extract and medicinal markets. Really, the future of the Samoa Ava industry lies in the closed working collaboration of everyone that are here today, our respective donors, researchers, farmers, producers and processors, exporters and traders, families and etc.

• Today I am very happy to announce that we have now developed a Ava Samoa Growing Guide, to guide and enhance farming techniques and management of Ava planting. The absences of these appropriate information and management guide for growing Ava has been a persistent obstacle, hindering our ability to fully exploit our potential and competitiveness in the Ava global market.

• Furthermore, we will also be hearing a presentation from the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) from its research findings, identifying the different varieties of Ava in Samoa based on their chemical composition. An important research to inform our farmers of the best variety of Ava in Samoa, with high yields and the best areas of Samoa such Ava should be planted.

• Lastly, in promoting the industry Public and Private Sector Partnership we will hear from Samoa Herbs, our private sector partner that have worked in collaboration with MAF and SROS on these interventions. On the benefits and importance of these initiatives to its business model and competitiveness in the export market for Ava.

These interventions align well with the Government of Samoa’s Research & Development efforts for the Ava industry revitalization and export capacity enhancement.

As part of these intervention activities, there will be community trainings and capacity building, and awareness programs rolled out to districts of Upolu and Savaii, ensuring that all our Ava growers and future growers will have access to these important informations to support their farm production and earn a better living.

Once again, On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, fa’afetai lava to MDF and the governments of Australia and New Zealand for your support to the agricultural sector in Samoa.

I look forward to continuing our partnership to benefit our people.

I wish everyone the very best!

Faafetai ma ia manuia.

SOURCE – Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries – Samoa

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