Better Livestock and Crop Varieties Bring New Opportunities for Samoa Farmers

April 15, 2016

There has been a large drop in the number of cattle in Samoa. To boost numbers and improve genetics, the World Bank is helping the Government of Samoa import new cattle stock from overseas -- the first time cattle have been flown in from Australia. In addition to a new pool of cattle, training is helping farmers improve the management and productivity of their farms.

World Bank Group

Farmers in Samoa are now receiving new breeds of cattle and sheep brought in from Australia to improve the national genetic pool, and improved vegetable varieties have been trialed and released. Training is also being provided for both crop and livestock farmers to help improve their agricultural practices. Together, these activities are increasing crop and livestock productivity in Samoa.

Challenge

Samoa has achieved a major economic transformation over the last twenty years, largely driven by the services sector and remittances from Samoan diaspora overseas. Despite this strong growth, the income gap between the urban and rural populations has been increasing – partly due to the poor performance of the agricultural sector. Two out of every three Samoans work in the agricultural sector, but productivity is low and the country has had to rely increasingly on food imports to meet domestic needs. Households thus remain very vulnerable to increases in food prices, as was seen during the 2008 food price crisis when the cost of the basic food basket in Samoa increased by 25 percent over 12 months.  The Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project (SACEP) is addressing this vulnerability by investing in improved varieties and breeds of key crops and livestock, training farmers in better agricultural practices, and linking farmers to domestic markets. 

Approach

The World Bank and the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) have been working with farmers through the Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project (SACEP). Its goal is to support livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers improve their productivity and take greater advantage of market opportunities.  Innovative achievements to date include the development of a hygienic mobile slaughtering service uniquely tailored to the Samoan conditions, so that farmers can meet the requirements of the recently introduced Slaughter and Meat Supply Act; introducing an integrated rainwater harvesting and storage system that collects water from runoff, allowing farmers to irrigate their crops, improve productivity and reduce their vulnerability to drought; and fostering a relationship between MAF and the Ministry of Health, which resulted in a joint public awareness campaign to encourage Samoans to ‘Eat a Rainbow’ of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. 


" The bulls that we have, we had them for quite some time now. To get a new blood into our pool will really help the production of animals to sell to the farmers. It will improve our own farms so that we can produce better animals for the newly established farmers. "

Temukisa Rimoni

Cattle farm manager

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Results

Key results achieved as of April 2016 include the successful importation of ‘Droughtmaster’ cattle and ‘Dorper’ sheep from Australia to introduce better genetic variety to Samoan livestock, and establishing a ‘multiplier farm’ system to ensure that these new breeds are rotated out to all farmers.

The project has also supported the successful trialing of tomato, carrot and onion varieties that are suitable for the Samoan climate and can be grown to substitute for imports. The Matching Grant Program (MGP) for co-financing on-farm investments has approved 406 grants to date with a value of approximately $1.8 million, which is being matched by in-kind and cash contributions from beneficiaries. Farmers have made a range of on-farm investments which have been complemented by training on improved cropping practices, better animal husbandry, and other topics. These activities are beginning to show results: the 2015 MGP beneficiary survey showed that vegetable yields had increased by on average 33% compared to before the project, while the calving rate has increased from 48% to 64%. 


Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank Group has contributed $13 million for SACEP, with $8 million from IDA and $5 million from the Global Food Crisis Response Program. Beneficiary co-contributions (cash and in-kind) are valued at approximately $3 million. 

Partners

The Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is implementing the project. Strong partnerships have been formed with the Development Bank of Samoa, which provides concessional loans to project beneficiaries; the Samoan Business Enterprise Centre, which guarantees these loans on behalf of beneficiaries and provides training on business planning and development; and the Ministry of Health, through a joint public awareness program on increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. The World Bank has also encouraged a collaborative relationship with the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led agribusiness program, as well as with the Food & Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) work on post-harvest losses in Samoa. 

Moving Forward

The project has sought to only invest in farm enterprises that are profitable and thus financially self-sustaining after the project closes. Substantial efforts have been made in improving MAF staff capacity to continue supporting the desired outcomes, and they have been encouraged to fully recover the costs of operating the new equipment and machinery that has been provided by the project. The project will end in early 2018 and it is expected that the results will be sustained.