30 Mar 2012

World Bank assisting small farmers in Samoa with 13 million dollars in aid

3:12 pm on 30 March 2012

The World Bank is giving Samoa 13 million US dollars in aid to help farmers improve their productivity.

The Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project will help more than 2,000 Samoan fruit, vegetable and livestock farmers to take greater advantage of market opportunities.

The Bank's Pacific country director, Ferid Belhaj, says despite a large agriculture sector, Samoan households remain vulnerable to increases in food and fuel prices, with the poorest families spending over half their income on food.

He says by becoming more competitive farmers will enjoy better livelihoods and contribute to increased food security.

Agriculture plays a critical role in the Samoan economy, employing around two-thirds of the work force and supporting 18,000 rural households.

But the Bank says that over the past decade the sector has underperformed and Samoa has become increasingly dependent on food imports.