(File Photo)

President Tommy Remengesau Jr passed a law by signing a bill to support local production of meat and seafood products.

The new law aims to lower the cost of domestically produced and sea food and intends to provide funds and mechanism to foster the growth of agriculture and aquaculture in Palau and increase food security.

“Additionally, by growing more of our own food, thereby importing less, we also help the environment by reducing pollution and use of resources required to transport food to our country.”  Remengesau said in his letter addressed to Senate President Hokkons Baules.

The new law requires Bureau of Agriculture to create positions for a Livestock Sales Broker, a Veterinarian and creates a new Palau Livestock Fund which will be provided to Palau Livestock Association (PLA).

However, the new law not only requires the PLA to account for the usage of funds but also requires it to ultimately repay the money it receives from the fund.

The responsibility PLA holds is to develop and implement a six year strategic plan that will benefit all the farmers in the industry.

The President expressed appreciation to the makers of the bill for granting Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism a broad authority to establish a new program to incentivize local aquaculture and include a funding mechanism for this program which is 1% revenue derived from tax imposed on alcoholic beverages per year.

However, the President recommend Olbiil Era Kelulau to consider identifying additional source of funding for the program as he believes the amount derived is too less to make a meaningful impact. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)