Savaii mountain cattle farmer enjoys the results of his hard work
Fogasavaii Highlands, SAVAI'I — In the highlands of Fogasavaii on the big island Savai’i, beef cattle farmer Lafoaina Avealalo sits looking out over the vast ocean beyond his village. He savors the view as he enjoys the results of his hard work for his family and their future.
It’s a bumpy ride up to the picturesque lookout from the main road and it takes almost an hour-long drive on rough terrain to reach the clearing before Mr Avealalo has to hike another 30 minutes up a steep incline through thick forest to reach his cattle farm.
“Our biggest challenge in developing a cattle farm is that there is no car access” said Avealalo. “We have to bring up everything manually but this land is very fertile and ideal for growing anything which is why we continue to persevere in developing this land.”
On this particular day, the 57-year-old has reason to smile as he savored the view. He and his workers had just finished building a barb wire fence covering over 10 acres of land using materials and equipment acquired under the Samoa Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity and Marketing Project (SAFPROM).
Avealalo said, “I’m grateful for this project in helping out poor and struggling families during this season — God is good.” He said “I’ve finally got a fence for my cattle - for years I’ve been trying to achieve this expensive goal and now it has been made possible through the project.”
“This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m getting older and I don’t have the stamina I used to have but this fence saves time and energy spent in moving the cattle constantly. Now I can focus more on managing the cattle farm rather than laboring in it which will move us forward in growing this into a commercial farm.”
After 30 years of farming, Avealalo feels ready to take a step back and assume a supervisory role in his family’s farming business now that they have reached a milestone in establishing an essential infrastructure needed for the growth of their beef production.
“My hope is that our cattle farm continues to expand and grow into a sustainable commercial enterprise so we can employ more people to help. I’m getting older and I’m not as strong as I used to be my goal is to supervise the work and guide my sons so they can run the farm.”
“Over the years, my children have watched me struggle and suffer to develop our farming initiatives” Avealalo said. “They understand what it takes and they have developed the courage and determination to build on what I’ve started because they can see the blessings that comes from hard work and if they continue to grow the cattle farm – they will never struggle or want for anything.”