Samoa, 01 Sep 2005 -- Since October 2004, an FAO funded project in Samoa, worth US$210,000, is supporting the overall aim of the "Future Farmers of Samoa" programme with enhanced education and training regarding opportunities in agriculture.
In Samoa, an increasing number of young people no longer see agriculture as a career choice and this is having multiple negative socio-economic effects: in urban areas it contributes to growing problems of overcrowding and unemployment, whereas in rural areas it negatively affects household security and incomes.
Hence, the government of Samoa has recognized the necessity of enhancing agricultural opportunities in Samoa, especially as regards opportunities for youth, and of carrying out specific activities in order to ensure the mobilization of youth in agriculture and to actively engage them in their own future and that of Samoa.
The technical assistance from FAO is training students, out of school youths working in groups, as well as the Ministry of Agricultur's extension workers and Peace Corps Volunteers in the practical application of marketing and farm management skills, and entrepreneurship.
By mobilizing the youth, the project aims to contribute to improve and maintain a high level of productivity and food security in Samoa. It also will contribute to the general public's awareness on the importance of attracting youth to the agriculture sector for the sustainable growth of the Samoan economy as a whole.
The project is also providing training and training materials in farm management and marketing and relevant manuals and training aids which offers resources including to other interested youth groups and individuals for starting their own agriculture-based initiatives.
Recently completed activities have included several workshops: a one day "Project Inception" workshop conducted for farm management, marketing and agribusiness, the "Training of Trainers Workshop" in farm management and agribusiness planning, the Farm Management, Marketing and Agribusiness (FMMA) workshop and the Marketing and Marketing Extension (MME) workshop.
Following the workshops, selected youth groups have submitted business plans of agricultural projects for assessment after which the selected projects will be funded and implemented. Through such projects, business aspects and skills will be further enhanced.
Through project activities youth groups are encouraged to actively engage in agricultural and rural development pursuits to improve their welfare, examining local markets in which to sell their produce, producing new value added products and creating awareness on conservation and environmental preservation.
The project is expected to be completed by September 2006.
A similar project was implemented in the Kingdom of Tonga since 2003.