Highlights for Fiscal Year
Food Security and General
The Ministry of RND, as
mandated, continues to promote domestic food production for national food
security and import substitution. Agricultural extension support activities
were expanded on the urban centers (Majuro and Ebeye), and to at least 8
outer islands. There were 15 trainings/workshops on site conducted to about
400 farmers. This clearly indicates that the level of local participation by
our rural people is increasing. Training methods included vegetable
production, compost making, nursery management, and livestock rearing.
Furthermore, to further support the growth of food production, the Majuro
Farmers market and the Micro-credit scheme were launched in September 2006.
Greater participation from both the public and private sector will only
increase RMI agriculture development, thereby contributing to improved
quality of life.
The expansion of agricultural
extension and other support services is the result of energetic
collaboration with many partners and stakeholders, including but not limited
to Outer Islands Local Governments, other National Government ministries and
agencies, MIDB, Bank of Marshall Islands, ROC Agricultural Technical
Mission, CMI Land Grant, FAO and SPC.
Technical and funding support
to agriculture development were more realized in 2006 from FAO and SPC, both
of whom RMI is a member of. Up to $300,000 were utilized in the
implementation of our own national food security projects and FAO's own
Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) and Telefood projects. This
collaboration is expected to continue into the next 3 years with the
up-scaling for phase 2 currently being negotiated by all FAO Pacific
countries. With the commitment of FAO, I am pleased to announce that Dr.
Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, has accepted the invitation to visit
again Majuro in late April 2007 during the FAO Pacific Ministers meeting.
Projects in the Pipeline
Development – As previously envisioned, this will involve replanting,
rehabilitation, coconut wood utilization, processing, multi-story cropping
with emphasis on proactive community participation. Both RND and Tobolar
have submitted project documents to APCC and other potential donors for the
initiation of this long planned important endeavor.
Quarantine and Invasive
RND in cooperation with MOH,
EPA, CMI Land Grant, MALGOV, Public Safety and Public Works have developed
the RMI Avian Influenza Emergency Response Plan for Animals. This document
is an annex to the RMI Pandemic Avian Influenza Emergency response plan. It
provides Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) drafted by the RMI Avian
Influenza Animal Contingency Coordination Committee in response to suspected
and/or confirmed Avian Influenza cases with animals. The plan was prepared
with the assistance of SPC.
As well, to upgrade our
capacity with our trading partners in the region and internationally and at
the same time to protect our agriculture, environment and public health, a
Quarantine/Bio-Security Bill has been drafted and will soon be introduced to
Nitijela. This Bill is intended to replace the Plant and Animal Inspection
Act and the Meat Exportation Act and regulations made under them. It will
bring together laws relating to both animals and plants, and provide a
legislative foundation for action to protect it from the introduction of
animal and plant pests and diseases. The Bill will also enable RMI to comply
with its obligations to ensure that the animal and plant pests or diseases
are not exported from RMI into neighboring countries.
In November 2005, RND joined
forces with EPA, OEPPC with support from the Pacific Invasive Learning
Network (PILN) to organize the first multi-agency Invasive Species awareness
raising workshop. The workshop identified public awareness for as the top
priority for invasive species action in the RMI, followed by inter-agency
coordination and funding.
Trade & Investment
The Ministry of R&D conducted
8 trainings on product development on Majuro, Kwajalein, Jaluit, Wotje,
Mejit and Ebon. Over 300 participants (youth, men/women) involved in the
trainings. The trainings focused on local products such as Lukiej Oil, Nin
Tea and Nin Juice, Virgin Coconut Oil and Breadfruit Products. Resulted from
these trainings some individual women and women groups are now producing
these products for their own consumption and also for sale. These new local
products were introduced and sold at the 3rd USAKA Trade Fair in September
Trade Facilitation and
Addressing the issues of
national policies that complement the Pacific Plan. RND has recently
completed its second edition of a National Investment Policy Statement
(NIPS). The NIPS addresses issues concerning Labor Movement or what is
commonly known as MODE 4, Trade in Services. To help tackle the issues of
Trade Liberalization, Enhancement of Private Sector, Administrative Barriers
to Trade, Foreign Investment Promotion, RND currently has a working group
(National Trade Facilitation Committee) comprising appropriate
representatives from the government, the private sector and civil society,
to address issues mentioned above. Furthermore, RND has included in the
Terms of Reference for this working group to attend to trade facilitations
mandated by the Pacific Leaders in 2001. Trade Facilitation basically
concerns measures to reduce the impediments to trade flows and the cost of
engaging in trade, particularly as they concern customs and quarantine
Although the RMI is still not
a member of PICTA we are taking measures to study the implications of
entering into a free trade in goods agreement. This year RND has held two
workshops in partnership with the PIFS and UNIFEM. Collectively the
objectives of the workshops are to have the relevant stakeholders i.e.
government agencies, private sectors, civil society and NGOs are more
involved in the decision making and better understand the consequences and
benefits of entering into a Free Trade Agreement.
Enabling Private Sector
RND has also been working
closely with private sector and related government ministries/agencies in
reviewing the Labor and Immigrations Bills (#83 and #100) the bills were
reviewed and recommendations were put forward for further review and
approval from the Nitijela. Both bills are now public laws.
Another bill, which is also
with Nitijela, is the Secured Transactions Bill, Secured Transaction is an
agreement between a debtor and a creditor where the debtor gives the
creditor an enforceable interest in movable property to secure a loan. This
is indeed a way forward for business development in RMI.
RND collaborated with the
stakeholders involve in the Foreign Investment Business License (FIBL) to
clarify the administrative steps in the investment approval process. As a
result, a road map has been produced which outline overall investment
approval process that is available on paper and electronically on Ministry
of Resources & Development website (www.rmirnd.net).
Commercial Desk Office in
As also a top Government
priority to strengthen private sector and economic development, the Cabinet
approved the establishment of the Commercial Desk Office in Honolulu at the
RMI Honolulu Consulate. The principal objective of the office is to lure US
established businesses and investors to the unique investment opportunities
in RMI. Compelling opportunities exist in sectors including, but not limited
to, niche tourism, fisheries and related services, aquaculture, value added
agriculture productions and traditional handicraft export.
Since its opening, the
Commercial Desk Office was instrumental in facilitating the recent
Micronesian Festival and the DOI Business Opportunities Conference, both
held in the Honolulu Convention Center in October and November 2006. As well
on-going consultations are underway with : 1) Hawaii Chamber of Commerce for
potential business contacts to be shared with RMI businesses, and 2) Pacific
Command Center at Pearl Harbor for handicraft concession at the.
Small Business Development
RND - Small Business
Development Center (SBDC) hosted the 4th Quarter Staff Development Meeting
here in Majuro. Participated in this meeting were the SBDC centers from all
over Micronesia including the Pacific Island Small Development Center
Network (PISDCN) at the University of Guam. During this meeting the SBDC
staff discussed the first stage of the Network Strategic Plan (Five Years
Plan) for FY 07.
In FY 2006, the SBDC
conducted 21 training sessions for 344 participants. These trainings session
provided information on small business including Business Plans, Marketing,
Taxation, Recordkeeping and other related small business topics.
The SBDC provided counseling
to 217 clients on different issues related to small business such as loan
requirements, managing a business and many other issues. The number of
business loans approved from the banks and through the Micro credit loan
scheme during 2006 was 40, which are worth over $150,000. SBDC looks forward
to assist more clients who wish to develop business plans in order to start
a small business or to obtain a Micro-Credit Loan for a small project
whether it’s on food crops, fishing, aquaculture, food processing or
Outer Is. Solar
The European Union 9th EDF
for the Five Pacific ACP members, of which RMI is a member took place in
first half of 2006. A Project Management Unit (PMU) was hired to work with
member countries in implementing respective country programs; the RMI has
opted to use its share of funds towards the Outer Islands Solar Home
Electrification Program and selected Ailinglaplap Atoll as the recipient of
the systems due to its size and population. The survey of households showed
an estimate of 400 houses on Ailinglaplap, including churches, community
halls, tool sheds and cooking huts. The proposed implementation date for
Ailinglaplap is expected to start in late 2007 to early 2008.
The Solar Program also
received an additional $3 million from the ROC government towards purchase
of 937 solar home systems from ROC based supplier; MoTech Industries, Inc.
Shipment of systems is expected as early as late January 2007. The RMI
Cabinet has selected three large atolls, Arno, Likiep and Ailinglaplap for
the MoTech units.
A Policy Paper Brief on the
Outer Islands Solar Electrification Program has been published and
disseminated as of December 2007. This Brief sheds more light on the Solar
Program by explaining more clearly the required fees and public awareness
campaigns to ensure a sustainable program thus needing support of policy
makers and community dwellers in effectively carrying out the Program.
Finally, it is expected that
by the end of 2006, approximately sixty homes on Wotho and Wodmej Island of
Wotje Atoll will be lit up. Installation is underway and expected to be
complete by late December 2007.
Other than the promotion of
solar as an alternative energy source, the RMI government has also been
seriously considering and increasingly using coconut oil based bio-fuel as a
diesel substitute for transport. In its August 2006 report, Tobolar sold
over 128,000 gallons of bio-fuel for $2.00 per gallon, showing significant
progress made by the RMI to promote this alternative energy source.
In October 2006, a project
team comprised of UNDP and SOPAC did a bio-fuel feasibility study to
determine the cost effectiveness of setting up a small generator set runned
by coconut oil, produced locally. A comprehensive report will be emailed
shortly from UNDP-Fiji, which will provide recommendations based on the
preliminary assessments and findings.