$5-M soft loan to boost local food production barely touched
By: L.N. Reklai
President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. said “there are no more excuses” regarding the lack of applicants for low interest agriculture/aquaculture loans, a government’s push to increase agriculture and aquaculture production for national food security.
According to Remengesau, the $5-million soft loan that Palau government and National Development Bank received from Taiwan to push for increased local food production has barely been touched by locals. Of the $5 million, only about one-fifth or $1 million has been disbursed.
“We have addressed the concerns about long complicated loan applications from NDBP. That now has been cut to one page and up to $10K do not require collateral. We have addressed complains about EQPB’s onerous application process, and so that too has been streamlined and only the director approves application,” he added.
So far though, the total applications have only reached $1 million. NDBP conducted meetings at each State to promote this opportunity and still response has barely reached a fifth of the total funding.
Recently, Palau has constructed a piggery butchering plant and implemented regulations to ensure that products meet health and sanitation standards but local production of pigs barely meet the facility’s daily maximum capacity.
Remengesau proposed looking at possible partnerships between local and outside farmers in order to create a more consistent production.