The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S) is working with local nursery owners under a long-term orchid propagation project aimed at creating new varieties.
Recently S.R.O.S officially handed over the orchid seedlings sourced from Thailand to the flower growers, who are an important part of the initiative to propagate different types of orchid species.
While the project has a long-term goal to assist flower growers in improving their flower business potential, C.E.O. for S.R.O.S, Dr. Seuseu Tauati ,told Samoa Observer that orchids on their own do not translate to profitability, but developing new varieties is lucrative.
“Orchids are a lucrative market in Japan. The varieties that were given out are common, you can just go to Thailand and buy them for yourselves. What we are trying to do in the long term is to cross the Samoan, the Thailand and Japan variety to come up with new varieties. If you come up with new varieties, now that’s big money. Its S.R.O.S. job to develop new plants and then hand over to the private sector to mass produce.”
Orchids are a temperamental plant according to Seuseu as some are easy to grow and some are not. Due to its slow growth (up to 2-3 years fruition), it made sense to ask local growers to assist them in this project.
According to the C.E.O, the outcomes from these exchanges with the local flower growers have proven to be of great value to the development of the work conducted in S.R.O.S, and has also improved the relationship between the organization and their local partners.
“Six to eight months ago we got a group of people together to find a letter of agreement saying lets work together on this beautiful research of creating new crosses and new varieties and give them the plants to nourish and take care of."
“We’re not experts in orchids, so instead of us having several plants growing here, we’re giving them over to the actual experts, who already grow orchids themselves but not the varieties we have. We maintain contact with them – they learn from us and we learn from them.” Research into the orchids includes trialing the most appropriate growth media, orchid propagation of seeds and seedlings, and studying the favorable conditions in which different species thrive – especially the percentage of sunlight exposure."
The orchid propagation project is under the Environment and Renewable Energy Division (ERED) of SROS with financial assistance from Japan.