Australian government backs Samoan agribusinesses

The government of Australia will provide A$1m to the Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project, a seven year program launched by the Asian Development Bank in 2015.

The Australian government has contributed A$1 million ($798,000; €675,000) to the Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project, an initiative co-financed by the Asian Development Bank and the government of Samoa to support agribusinesses in the country.

The $5 million grant program, launched by ADB in May 2015, is aimed at providing financial products to Samoa’s agribusiness sector as well as business support services.

“The project has been performing well for the past 12 months, providing advisory services and assistance to obtain commercial funding to medium-sized businesses,” ADB said in a statement. “The supported agribusiness segments include cocoa, coconut, root crop, and poultry farming.”

According to the ADB website, eight businesses have been financed as of March 30, while five were in the pipeline for approval by the second quarter of this year.

The project has now partnered with four commercial banks, ADB said in its statement, but did not provide further details. The participating banks have been able to extend loan terms of up to seven years at interest rates that are three to four percent lower than the prevailing commercial lending rates in the South Pacific country, according to ADB’s website. A representative for the bank was not immediately available for comment.

Australia has an aid program in place aimed at supporting Samoa’s economic growth, targeting such sectors as infrastructure, healthcare and education, in addition to agriculture. The two countries have close trade ties as Australia is the main destination for Samoan merchandise exports and Samoa’s fifth largest source of merchandise imports.