Ngarabiboid, a group made up of Ibobang High School alumni, became the 20th group to receive the Taro Seedling Grant Fund of $10,000 to grow taro (kukau) as part of the ADB’s COVId-19 Response for Affected Poor and Vulnerable Groups, with funding from Japan’s Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific.

The project aims to lift the affected poor and vulnerable groups by providing them with seedlings and technical support to ensure their food security and provide a certain source of income to support themselves.

Yesterday March 23rd, technical experts from the Bureau of Agriculture, and Taiwan Technical Mission, met with groups from the west side of Babeladaob, Airai, Aimeliik and Ngatpang to provide training on how best to grow the taro.  At this workshop, the latest group to join the Taro Seedling Project, Ngarabiboid received their seed funding.

The training covered both uses of chemical and organic fertilizers, soil management and best practices to employ in planting kukau (taro) on dry land.

Minister Kaleb Udui Jr., presented the grant fund and explained that Palau is the first to receive the Taro Seedling Program and that the positive outcome will lead to the extension to other Pacific islands.

The 20 groups mainly consist of women, with the latest having a few male members.  Some of the groups have over 20 members.  Each member is given 100 taro seedlings to plant.  The Bureau of Agriculture helps with tilling the land and other partner agencies including PCC CRE, Palau SBDC, TTM and PVA come in to support the farmers reach the best outcome.

BOA is also providing taro seedlings but not getting enough plants to meet the demands from the 20 groups.

The first harvest from the initial recipients of the grant is today.  Members of the groups participating in this program must sell at least 50 taro plans back to BOA when the farm is harvested.  BOA purchases the taro at $2.00 per lb. And taro plants at .25 cents.

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