The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Samoa on September 8 signed a grant agreement of AU$1 million ($750,000) additional financing provided by the Government of Australia to further strengthen the agribusiness sector in the country.
ADB Pacific Department Director General Carmela Locsin and Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Sili Epa Tuioti signed the agreement on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Apia.
The ongoing Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project, cofinanced by ADB and the Governments of Australia and Samoa and was launched in May 2015, is designed to boost the South Pacific nation’s economic performance by addressing challenges hindering increased trade and export, according to ADB.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Samoa’s economy,” said Mr. Tuioti. “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.”
“The ADB 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,” said Ms. Locsin.
“Australia is very pleased to work with ADB and the Samoan government to help agribusinesses in Samoa access finance to expand production and create jobs,” said Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific. “While visiting Samoa this week, I visited Healthy Me Hydroponics and Mailelani Samoa, projects funded by Australian Aid through ADB 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.
ADB 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.