One of the aims of the training is to build and enhance the participants’ capacity to produce open pollinated seeds so that they can help train other farmers.
The Principal Advisory Officer at Crops Division, Tommy Tuuamalii presented some of the challenges faced by the ministry.
Tuuamalii said one challenges is the lack of a standard procedure to effectively produce good quality seeds.
Farmers use hybrid seeds and there is also a limited availability of seeds after a cyclone or natural disasters.
Open-pollinated generally refers to seeds that will produce plants that are identical to their parents and can be more adaptable to local growing conditions.
Leaupapa Lasa of Samoa Farmers Association said, “We are lacking the support from the Ministry in terms of capacity building trainings to increase the knowledge of the farmers in certain agricultural methods.”
Chief Executive Officer of MAF, Afioga Tilafono David Hunter told participants that locally produced seeds help farmers to decrease costs on imported seeds, fast and easy seed access, increase capacity in seed production and save farmers high costs.”
Afioga also highlighted the need to set a goal for local farmers harvesting and production and to ensure more money is spent on buying local produce instead of imports in the coming year as Samoa will host the 2019 Pacific Games.
Participants had the opportunity to visit a Chinese farm at Nu’u under the Chinese-Samoa Agriculture Project and discovered more about how to differentiate between open pollinated seeds and hybrids through the experience of Pacific Community member(s) and some MAF staff.
They also visited the MAF Crops Division at Nu’u and had the chance to do on-hands activity on how to extract seeds from certain vegetables and fruits including tomato, capsicum, eggplant, pumpkin, pawpaw and cucumber – washing and drying of seeds before planting.
The open-pollinated seed production training that ended Friday was hosted by the European Union and Pacific Community supported IntraAPP Agriculture Policy Program in partnership with Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the ACIAR Integrated Crop Management Project.
Photo source Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services (PIRAS)