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Samoa Revives Livestock and Agriculture Industries

November 5, 2014


Despite potential for a strong local production base, 60% of the meat consumed in Samoa is imported. The Samoan government has started an initiative to establish long-term solutions for development of their livestock industry.

The World Bank

  • Meat is big business in Samoa and a major part of the national diet and culture. Despite potential for a strong local production base, 60% of the meat consumed is imported.
  • The World Bank is working with the Samoan government to establish long-term solutions for development of the livestock industry.
  • Over the longer term, the aim is to support farmers to increase production and improve processing to meet domestic needs.

Apia, Samoa, 5 November 2014 – Samoa has recently welcomed the arrival of 110 “Fiji Fantastic” sheep that will help rejuvenate its fledgling sheep industry and provide the basis for a new national breeding program.

The shipment has been funded through a joint World Bank and government project – the Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project (SACEP) – which aims to support farmers and the commercial viability of Samoa’s agriculture sector.

Improving meat industry key to food security, strong agriculture sector

Meat is big business in Samoa – it’s a daily part of the national diet and a key ingredient in major cultural ceremonies. Despite its prevalence in daily life, approximately 60 percent of meat consumed in Samoa is imported.

High dependence on food imports has implications for food security and constitutes a loss for Samoa’s livestock farmers, who miss out on domestic market opportunities. In order to become competitive suppliers, farmers say they need more support to improve the quality and volume of meat produced in the local market.

The arrival of the Fiji Fantastic sheep presents the opportunity to more than double sheep numbers in Samoa every three years, from the current 700, to 3000 over the next 10 years. The breed was especially selected for their high fertility potential, tolerance to heat, self-shedding and ability to survive well under low nutrition.

Livestock farmers face many challenges and high risks

Aukusitino Rasch is a sheep farmer who is benefitting from the project’s Matching Grants Program, which provides credit and grants to participating farmers. Mr. Rasch is using these funds to improve his farm’s low-quality tropical pasture, while renovating sheep shelters and fencing destroyed by Cyclone Evan in 2009.

"Farming is not easy here,” he says, “We lack capital for things like animal sheds. We lack proper water systems and critical infrastructure. We only have two vets in the country and face considerable risk as currently we only service local markets.”

Long-term solutions for livestock industry

The project’s focus on developing long-term, sustainable solutions for livestock sector challenges is a first for Samoa and will prove crucial to improving future stock bloodlines.

The new breeding animals will supplement the government’s flock on Togitogiga Farm, to service various private sector “multiplier” farms established under the program. From here, breeding stock will be made available to existing and new commercial farmers who are interested in expanding their flocks.

In addition to the breeding program, the project will also provide training to encourage better husbandry practices and stock management. The introduction of new field slaughter facilities in Upolu and Savai’I will also facilitate improvements in the quality, hygiene and competitiveness of Samoan meat.

" Farming is not easy here. We lack capital for things like animal sheds. We lack proper water systems and critical infrastructure. "

Aukusitino Rasch

Sheep farmer

Expanding the market for Samoan produce

Leicester Dean is the founder and general manager of Sale'imoa Aparies which produces Samoa's popular "Tropical Honey", and is applying to join the Matching Grants Program’s next round. Leicester hopes to restore bee hives lost during Cyclone Evan and invest in facilities that will enable him to reach new export markets.

"There is real potential for Samoan honey. We want to expand and export, but what we really need is a proper facility, such as a honey house for extraction. You can't just do it under the mango tree like we do now,” he says. “We could potentially produce up to 30 tons a year – that’s up to ten times the three or four tons we currently make."

“The World Bank is committed to supporting initiatives like SACEP to assist the government in securing the long term competitiveness of the agricultural sector,” says Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “Boosting the opportunities for producers to increase the quality and volume of output will ensure local needs are met and the potential for Samoan exports is realized.”

“Agriculture is an area where we need a lot of development,” says Mr. Rasch, “We grew up knowing that farming was the backbone of the economy. We used to have cocoa, copra, bananas and now that industry's all gone. But we know there's a good market out there for what we do still produce. With the backing of governments and donors, we can do it.”