APIA, SAMOA – Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Lakshmi Venkatachalam and Samoan Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi last week launched an AgriBusiness Support Project that will provide business support services and financing to agribusinesses in Samoa.
“Agribusinesses provide jobs and income, so their development will play a critical role in promoting a sustainable and inclusive growth for the community,” said Ms. Venkatachalam, who heads Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations, at the launch event.
Most agribusinesses are small-scale, family-owned enterprises with fewer than 400 employees, mostly involved in agro-industrial production such as chilli sauce or banana chips, or fresh products for export such as taro or Tahitian limes.
They engaged a significant number of smallholder families as suppliers of raw material. Agribusinesses are, therefore, critical for stimulating agricultural production.
The Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project aims to boost Samoa’s economic performance by addressing constraints that hinder increased trade and export.
The project will assist selected commercial agribusinesses grow sustainably and will work with participating commercial banks to provide suitable financing services to partner agribusinesses.
The Project will also provide tailored business support services for agribusiness. This may include, establishing contractual raw material supply arrangements with farmers, or improving product quality to fulfil importer requirements such as food safety standards. The project will closely cooperate with existing local and regional support programs in these activities.
ADB’s assistance includes a $5 million grant from ADB’s Special Funds resources. The Government of Samoa is providing $0.17 million equivalent, and some commercial financing is included.
The Ministry of Finance will be the executing agency for the project.