Tuiafiso went from government executive to being this year’s taro farmer of the year, finishing first for best taro and best ta’amu at the annual Samoa Agriculture Show.
Even though he had a long career in the public service as a meteorologist, the dedicated farmer kept the weekends free for his real passion, which is farming.
“Sitting in the office all day long is boring”, he said.
“It took me an adaptive three years to get to where I am now. Some people expect a lot of money in the first year but if you want to seriously invest in your farm – expect losses for up to 2-3 years. After that it all comes back if you plan well.”
Tuiafiso became a full time commercial farmer in 2015.
He then worked on developing 185 acres of leased land from the government and planted between 14,000 to 18,000 taro a month from tissue culture.
“I have six permanent staff and between 18 – 20 casual workers. I pay $50 tala per person per day as well as provide morning tea and lunch. They enjoy working three days and take the rest of the week off to do chores at home.”
Apart from selling at the local market, he exports weekly to American Samoa and is looking to explore the US market next year.
“Choose your crop according to the land and conditions it suits. Just because a taro grows well in a different district, doesn’t mean it will have the same outcome on your plantation.”
“I have six permanent staff and between 18 to 20 casual workers. I pay $50 tala per person per day as well as provide morning tea and lunch. They enjoy working three days and take the rest of the week off to do chores at home.”
Tuiafiso also aims to invest in his children’s education.
”I’m very serious about education and my kids are doing well and they go to private schools. Of course I encourage them to get involved in the farm after school and during the holidays – give them a taste of farm life.”