The first Farmer’s Market held on Wednesday, July 8, was a sellout event with KB Bridge Koror-sidejam-packed in the morning with people purchasing fresh produce, local pork and fresh fish.
With government assistance in a form of $25,000 subsidy to the local farmers and fishermen, the prices of local produce and products were greatly reduced. Vice President of Palau Livestock Association Rose Ongalibang said that this not only help them but it also helps customers especially during COVID-19.
President Remengesau in his report to the leadership meeting yesterday said that they were able to acquire a $50,000 dollar grant to subsidize local farmers. The second half of the fund will be disbursed at the next Farmers Market to encourage local production.
The event started early in the morning and was supposed to go until later in the afternoon but it ended up finishing early due to people having bought nearly all of the products within 2 hours-time.
Palau Taiwan Farmer’s Association sold a variety of vegetables, Palau Livestock Association gave out pork for a $1 a pound, and Belau Offshore Fisheries Incorporated had fish for purchase.
Each of the vendors did not anticipate such a big crowd to show up during the farmer’s market. Since it was their first time, they are now thinking of ways to improve the next event so they can accommodate more people.
Belau Offshore Fisheries Incorporated is thinking about cutting the fish into loins instead of giving the whole fish to one customer which still needs to be discussed further amongst the members. Palau Taiwan Farmer’s Association plan to bring more produce to the next event.
Although the farmer’s market was a successful turnout and all the food ran out, commotion still ensued amongst the people buying pork resulting in having the police come in the manage the crowd. It got worse when one of the individuals started saying racial slurs towards another person waiting in line. Police had to step in to resolve the issue.
Complaints by the customers got worse that a police officer was made to slice the pork to avoid further issues.
A Filipina nurse reported that a female officer allegedly said to her that a local farmer’s market is for “working people”, however the Filipina has been working as a nurse for Belau Medical Clinic for many years.
The next farmer’s market is supposed to take place in either September or October.