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Taiwan-funded agriculture program moves ahead on remote Marshall atoll
1:00 pm GMT+12, 12/04/2013, Marshall Islands

An agriculture pilot project on a remote atoll in the Marshall Islands is into its second phase, with farmers developing a nursery and conducting trainings for local residents as part of expanding gardening at the household level.
 
The project is jointly sponsored by the Taiwan Embassy and the Mili Atoll Local Government. To support food security programs, Taiwan is providing seed funding for agriculture development on Mili, Kwajalein and Mejit.
 
Taiwan Ambassador George TK Li said that if these three prove successful, Taiwan will consider expanding its agriculture program to additional islands. Taiwan, which is the second largest aid donor to the Marshall Islands, operates a Technical Mission in a rural part of Majuro Atoll that supports local farming efforts in Majuro and the outer islands with technical assistance, seedlings and equipment.
 
Farmers from Laura recently led a training for Mili farmers on composting techniques, garden management, and how to prepare feed for pigs, said Mayor Tommy Leban on Thursday.
 
Andy Yi-Chan Chiang, the leader of Taiwan Technical Mission in Majuro, presented a check for $7,500 to Leban for the second phase of the project.   
 
Taiwan has committed to supporting these three outer island projects each with $50,000 over five years, Leban said. The funding is supporting pig feed, transport of supplies from Majuro, and stipends to farm workers on Mili, he said.
 
Two of the five farmers being employed for the phase two work have been trained by the Taiwan Technical Mission in farming techniques and piggery management.
 
Cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplants, and long beans have been successfully grown on the gardening beds, and papaya seedlings have been planted in Mili, said Leban.
 
The main issue faced during the implementation of the project was the shortfall of funding to meet initial project needs, said a report submitted by Mili Atoll Local Government to the Taiwanese Embassy. The local government has helped with the shortfall of funds, and urged the Taiwan government to provide funding up front to cover operations costs.


SOURCE: MARIANAS VARIETY/PACNEWS


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