Samoa One-UN YEP Supports Organic Farming and ProductionAug 22, 2017
One of Samoa’s pre-eminent non-government organisations, Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) has reached a significant milestone. With the support of the Samoa One-UN Youth Employment Programme Samoa 1UN YEP) on 19 August 2017, WIBDI inaugurated its new processing facility at Nu’u fitted out with new modern food processing equipment, laboratory, cooling rooms and office facilities. The project is funded by the United Nations Development Programme Sustainable Development Goals Trust Fund.
WIBDI is a well-established, multi-award winning NGO that specializes in organic agriculture and employment of youth and women in the farm-to-table value chain for both domestic and international markets. WIBDI’s vision is for vulnerable families in Samoa to contribute fully to their own development, the development of their community and nation through income generation, job creation and participation in the village economy. Its mission is to empower these families through providing them with the knowledge and skills that enable them to access finance, markets and the full array of opportunities available to them.
WIBDI’s mission echoes the objectives and goals of the Samoa 1UNYEP The Samoa One-UN YEP is a joint programme supported by five UN agencies – UNDP, ILO, FAO, UNESCO and UN Volunteers – bringing together the different strengths and technical capacities of the UN agencies in Samoa to deliver as ‘One-UN’. Activities included in WIBDI’s farm-to-table project are implemented by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development in collaboration with civil society organisations and the private sector.
Since 2013 UNDP has provided WIBDI with approximately USD$450,000 to fund equipment for processing organic produce in the warehouse, vehicles involved in monitoring and evaluation and youth training in organic farming and processing. The actual building costs were covered by a matching grant from the Government of Samoa through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade (EIF) Trust Fund. This modern facility was showcased during at the opening ceremony.
The equipment includes: coconut presses, dehydrators, dryers, beehives, etc. The new warehouse facility and the availability of modern state-of-the-art equipment will keep WIBDI in good stead in the years ahead and assist it to expand its productive capacity and quality control—both key to meeting the strict demands of its export partners. Most importantly, however, the earning capacity of WIBDI’s partner farmers who create the organic produce that goes into WIBDI’s products will continue to grow proportionally to the development of the facility and WIBDI’s markets.
Worldwide, organic agriculture is growing. The increasing consumer demand for organic commodities provides a viable opportunity for Samoa’s farmers and processors to benefit from this developing international market. Traditional farming practices in Samoa are in-line with organic agriculture principles. Many communities have maintained pesticide-free agricultural systems based on practices perfected over centuries. Through official organic certification new and significant opportunities for Samoan farmers emerge, especially for youth and women. These include exports to niche markets of high-value, low volume crops, which is an area that WIBDI has experienced success. This allows youth farmers to diversify their livelihood strategies, increase their household income and enhance economic sustainability.