On October 25, 2022, a signing ceremony for the “Economic and Social Development Programme” worth 0.92 million USD and a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a livestock compound under “The Project for Assisting the Development of the Agriculture and Livestock Production Industry” worth 1.85 million USD were held at the Bureau of Agriculture in Ngchesar.
The Government of Palau has declared the year 2022 as the “Kelad A Ngercheled” and has been working ambitiously to expand production of domestic agricultural and livestock products. To support these efforts, the Government of Japan is intensively implementing agricultural cooperative projects including grant aid and technical cooperation with public and private counterparts in both countries, based on the MOU for Japan-Palau Agricultural Cooperation signed in May 2021 by President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. and former Minister Nogami Kotaro of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF).
At the signing ceremony, Ambassador Karasawa Akira and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and the Environment Steven Victor signed the grant agreement in witness of President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. The grant is to procure meat-processing machines, veterinarian lab wares, a chiller truck, a pig transportation truck, fence for the compound and related equipment. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by President Whipps, Ambassador Karasawa, Minister Victor, Deputy Director General of MAFF Tanimura Eiji, President of Japan International Cooperation System Takeuchi Kazuki, Executive Officer of JFE Civil Engineering & Construction Corporation Miyakawa Hiroshi and many distinguished guests. The attendees celebrated the groundbreaking of the 270 m2 complex facility for meat-processing station, poultry slaughterhouse, and vet laboratory. Completion of these facilities and delivery of major equipment is scheduled for June 2023.
At the ceremony, Ambassador Karasawa said, “Those signing and groundbreaking ceremonies realize the commitment in the Joint Statement when we had the Japan-Palau Summit Meeting in Tokyo between President Whipps and Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on September 9, 2022.” President Whipps said, “Food is our responsibility, and this project will strengthen our commitment more to our food security. Thank you for the people and the government of Japan, and we look forward to seeing the first products coming from this facility next year.” Minister Victor stated, “We are grateful for Japan’s agricultural cooperation projects worth 4.4 million USD. This tatemono will realize the beginning of processing agricultural products. We look forward to continuing cooperation with Japan to increase our capacity.”
On the same day, the second meeting of the “Task Force for Promotion of Japan-Palau Agricultural Cooperation” was held at the Embassy of Japan. This Task Force was established under the MOU to promote discussions on agricultural cooperation projects. The Embassy of Japan, MAFF, JICA, Japan Development Institute Ltd, Mie and Okinawa Prefecture attended the meeting from the Japanese side. From the Palauan side, the Bureau of Agriculture, PCC-CRE, Taiwan Technical Mission and Koror State Government attended the meeting. The participants made presentations on outcomes of the current projects, and actively exchanged opinions for further cooperation in the future.