Palau farmers given COVID help

About 65 farmers in the 13 States of Palau received poultry and vegetable farming equipment earlier this month, as part of the Micronesia COVID-19 Response (MICCO19) project.

The MICC019 was launched as a short-term response to the impacts of COVID-19 on food security, and is funded by the European Union and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

In Palau, the project was implemented by the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division in collaboration with the Bureau of Agriculture and involves support from the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund and the Palau Community Action Agency.

The project provides chicken coops with a chicken feeder trough and drinker, 24 chicks and a 3-month supply of chicken feed.

Training for chicken feeding and manure collection for natural fertiliser conversion would be conducted.

The Director of the Bureau of Agriculture Mr Fred Sengebau said COVID-19 had a negative effect on families’ livelihood and MICCO19 will assist low-income families to put food on the table and earn money for other living expenses.

“Suitable equipment design and training will ensure participating farmers can produce quality poultry meat and easily utilise chicken manure for composting and vegetable production,” he explained.

Ngeremlengui State’s Babeldaob Island was the first area of implementation, with five farmers receiving the equipment that came with demonstration and training.

“The challenge for many of the farmers is we have not managed to produce beyond household consumption and have not produced enough to meet the needs of the community,” Mr Davis Tamtreng, one of the participating farmers in Ngeremlengui, told SPC News.

“MICCO19 will help improve accessibility to fresh meat but I am especially excited for the provision of chicken manure to enhance my composting of my vegetable garden. This type of assistance will encourage others in the community as well who may be thinking about farming.”

A nursery will be established in a community agricultural extension facility, to store vegetable seedlings that can be accessed by the community.

Project implementation in Palau will introduce a community-based integrated farming system for backyard poultry and vegetable farming to boost local production.

“We’re excited to see the MICCO19 project implementation in Palau and hope to further our commitment to empower communities and promote good governance. This is key to improving food and nutrition security and we acknowledge the great partnerships that have been able to foster this, and great work being done by the Bureau of Agriculture and the Palau Community Action Agency,” said Mrs Karen Mapusua, Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division.

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