The government and the Asian Development Bank (A.D.B) signed a grant agreement of $1 million (T$1.9m) additional financing provided by the government of Australia to further strengthen the agribusiness sector in the country.
At the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel yesterday, the Minister of Finance and A.D.B Governor, Sili Epa Tuioti and A.D.B Pacific Department Director General, Carmela Locsin, signed the agreement on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Apia.
The ongoing Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project, co-financed by A.D.B and the governments of Australia and Samoa and was launched in May 2015.
It is designed to boost the South Pacific nation’s economic performance by addressing challenges hindering increased trade and export.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Samoa’s economy,” said Sili. “We appreciate the assistance provided under the program and the support from four commercial banks in providing suitable and affordable financial services to participating agribusinesses.”
Ms. Locsin said the assistance is to push economic growth.
“The A.D.B and Australia-supported Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project is providing tailored support and financing to Samoan agribusinesses which will encourage a vibrant private sector and sustainable, inclusive economic growth,” she said.
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, said Australia is very pleased to work with A.D.B and the Samoan government to help agribusinesses in Samoa access finance to expand production and create jobs.
“While visiting Samoa this week, I visited Healthy Me Hydroponics and Mailelani Samoa, projects funded by Australian Aid through A.D.B as part of the Samoa Agribusiness Support Project.”
Agribusinesses are often family-owned enterprises, mostly involved in agro-industrial processing of local raw materials, such as taro and coconut, supplied by smallholder families. Agribusinesses are, therefore, critical for stimulating agricultural production and sustaining local employment generation.
The project has been performing well, providing advisory services and assistance to obtain commercial funding to cocoa, coconut, root crop, and vegetable farming businesses.
A.D.B has been working with the Government of Samoa since 1966 and has approved $186.19 million in loans, $122.97 million in Asian Development Fund grants, and $32.06 million in technical assistance.
A.D.B, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.