Samoan farmers urged to replant tree cuttings | Pacific Beat

Samoan farmers urged to replant tree cuttings

Samoan farmers urged to replant tree cuttings

Updated 11 January 2013, 17:43 AEDT

Samoan farmers are being urged to replant fallen fruit trees rather than simply cut them up for firewood.

The NGO Women in Business is offering advice on the best way to save tree cuttings from plants blown down in Cyclone Evan.

But they're warning that the cuttings need to be replanted within the next couple of weeks, before the plants die.

Pule Toleafoa, project officer with Women in Business, explains that Samoa needs to get its food trees back up as soon as possible, to avoid food shortages.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Pule Toleafoa, project officer with Women in Business, a Samoan NGO

TOLEAFOA: All the bananas are down and also cocoas are down at the moment. Some of the breadfruits are all destroyed, and we have just given the advice to the farmers because the majority of the farmers still … areas, all the farms have damage at the moment. So we are just giving the advice then trying to save the root stock. The cut should be about six feet from where the roots are, then save the root stock, and also the bananas, don't remove the leaves if they fall down, but to save the leaves and try to cover the branches if there is some fruit. We are looking at the paw-paws, so that's another staple food for the Samoan people, Samoan farmer, that try to remove the branches and save the root stock, so then they can grow it again.

HILL: So a lot of the trees that are down, they're not necessarily dead, you can actually replant some of them if you cut them in the right way and put them in the ground and look after them?

TOLEAFOA: Yes that's another thing that we are looking at. We are just thinking of that to have replanting seed at the moment, but the thing is that we are running out of planning the fields(?), but we are looking that if cocoas, the cocoas are still on the … so they have to just pull it out and … the … and put the seed in the ground, so that's an easier way we are looking at to plant a new one.

HILL: Are there different techniques to use with different trees? Like do you treat a banana tree different from a breadfruit tree, and orange, lime, lemon, cocoa, do they all use different techniques for replanting them?

TOLEAFOA: No that's our traditional planting scheme. This is the first advice that we are giving right now, because if we are only a little bit worried about the … of fruiting in the very near future.

HILL: Well are you urging people to replant because you need to get the next crop in as quickly as possible, because they'll be a food shortage between now and when the next harvest is, so you want the next harvest to be as quickly as possible I suppose?

TOLEAFOA: Yes that's exactly what we are planning, the Women in Business are looking at we have to carry out the replanting as soon as possible, that's to replace the damaged ones.

HILL: What about burning leaves, I know a lot of people are getting up all the leaves from the trees that are down and burning them, but that's actually not the best way to use the leaves is it?

TOLEAFOA: You know we also give advice to don't burn the leaves, that's putting us in a small place, the leaves, we are looking at the compost, so that's the place that …

HILL: And how is this advice being received? I mean a lot of people in Samoa know about cyclones, they've coped with these sort of things before, but this specific advice about getting the trees back in the ground and growing again, is this something new for people in Samoa, or do a lot of the older people already know this?

TOLEAFOA: Yes the older people, the older farmers they really know what I'm talking about. You have to do exactly, because if you leave it for about two weeks then I think that the breadfruit, the cocoa, the fruit will not grow to the best.

HILL: So how long do you think it'll be before the next harvest from the fruit trees is going to be available, and what are people going to do for food in the meantime, just spend a lot of money on imported foods?

TOLEAFOA: Yeah well that's another thing that we are worried about, because in the rural areas a lot of people are depending a lot on the crop sowing, that's the main source of their own income. So we are trying to force them to do exactly, and this is the right time to do it, do it in their right place so that they can have these crops in the very near future, maybe I'm just talking maybe another eight or nine months.



Bruce Hill

Bruce Hill


Bruce is one of the Pacific’s most experienced journalists with nearly 20 years covering the region and has won several international awards.

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