The assistance is being disbursed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Australian Government to the selected organisations.
The PIRAS Facility aims to support Covid-19 food systems and economic recovery across villages by targeting women and youth actively working in the sector to improve sustainable food production and nutrition while also strengthening inclusive local chains.
The disbursements began on 12 May in Upolu at participating suppliers before moving to Savaii where representatives of eligible associations received farming equipment and supplies.
The deployment of the PIRAS funded supplies to women and youth is a welcome development for producers in the sector who need recovery support due to the impact of Covid-19 in Samoa.
In conjunction with other on-going Government initiatives currently being implemented by the MAF, the PIRAS Project complements the Stimulus Packages 1 & 2 including the SAFPROM Matching Grant Program to further support the development and sustenance of the Agriculture and Fisheries sector during these uncertain times.
To ensure the funding directly benefit women and youth, engaged in agriculture and fisheries related activities for their livelihoods, the Ministry has partnered with NGOS and farmers and fisheries associations who will co-ordinate the activities funded under the PIRAS Project.
Implementing these initiatives through NGOs, farmer and fisher associations and institutions who are currently focused on supporting women and youth will ensure that the right people whom are considered vulnerable will receive assistance in a short period of time
During the week of disbursements, the Faleasi’u–uta Women’s Association received water tanks, tools and equipment for their farming developments and are anticipating their tunnel house installation in the weeks to come.
The Secretary for the Faleasi’u Women’s Association, Asolua Alatimu, said ninety per cent of their membership is made up of women and they are grateful for the PIRAS initiative especially during a difficult period.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the Government, MAF and the PIRAS Project for providing financial assistance to benefit women's and youth farmers especially during the Covid-19 crisis” said Asolua. “Right now farmers are struggling to buy planting materials and tools due to high costs. We are grateful for the assistance which will greatly improve our food security, maintain our produce and generate income to help make ends meet.”
Under the PIRAS initiative, seven associations and three NGOs will be receiving disbursements of planting materials, tools and equipment to help support developments by their women and youth members. As part of the activities planned in the implementation of the PIRAS Project, the Samoa Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) will facilitate trainings in food processing technology as well as post- harvest handling, food preservation and value adding.