Palau-Taiwan Farmers Association during a meeting with President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. (left, front) and Natural Resource Minister Umiich Sengebau (right, front) to request for a site to be used for the establishment of a central market. (Contributed Photo)

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. met with a farmer’s group on Wednesday, October 16, that is requesting for a site that could be used for the creation of a central market intended for local produce.

The president divulged that the Palau-Taiwan Farmers Association, a group composed of Palauans that are alumni of several Taiwan-sponsored scholarships and other programs, is requesting for a site that they could use to build a central market where they could sell their produce.

Palau’s top government leader, however, said that he wants to raise the question of whether the group would be able to fill up the proposed central market with their local products especially after the observation that there are not enough local produce displayed in the major stores of the country.

He also said that he wants to consider whether the country should push for another central market and also if the local farmers would be able to consistently fill it up with their products.

“For me the important thing is not the market, it’s the production. We need to have consistent production of vegetables or fruits,” the president said.

During the meeting, the president asked Minister Sengebau to work with the group in coming up with a production and market analysis that would determine if it is feasible to build a central market.

“This week we experienced how it is when our imported goods don’t make it in time with shipping. Food shelves were empty. We need to be producing more and we must work together ensure that our productivity can sustain the demand by consumers,” President Remengesau was quoted saying in a statement sent to the media.

Both the president and the minister also expressed the will to support local farmers and livestock producers by providing government subsidies that will help ease the cost of production, the press statement revealed.

Minister Sengebau, meanwhile, said that the production cost is Palau’s biggest challenge.

“We need to get locally produced food prices lower than imported ones, and that’s where we need to start.” said Minister Sengebau.,” he said.

The meeting happened after the recent events involving the lack of several food supplies on island after the cargo ship carrying the imported products was held up for 10 days by a typhoon. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)