Copra and cocoa subsidy implemented

The Government through the Economic Stimulus Package Implementation Committee has yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Copra and Cocoa exporters.

Chairman of the ESP Implementation Committee and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Mr Dentana Makini said the MoU sets the minimum price of copra at $3 per kilogram for one month and will be reviewed for the next 3 to 6 months. 

The Government has provided the price subsidy of $0.50 per kg of copra and the freight subsidy of $28 per bag. The subsidy Program was initiated as part of the stimulus package to encourage local farmers to produce more copra and benefit from the subsidy scheme.

Mr Makini said the majority of our local copra buyers and exporters are excited and had welcomed the Government initiative as it will directly benefit farmers, and it is time in our history that such a scheme is provided to exporters.

With the effectiveness of the support today, production of copra is expected to increase in the next 3 to 6 months.

According to Mr Makini, this is the whole policy rationale of the package, which is to inject as much as possible more cash into our rural economy while at the same time expected higher export will lead to higher foreign exchange earnings.

“These are two most important economic fundamentals during these times of health and economic crisis because of COVID-19”, the Permanent Secretary said   

It was further confirmed that similar MoU was signed with the first 6 cocoa exporters for fright subsidies. For cocoa, the government under the stimulus package, will provide the freight subsidy of $40 per bag.

The ESP Implementation Committee is also reviewing information on transportation issues facing our farmers and a way forward will be raised with relevant partners to ensure that products from farmers are quickly brought to our key buying points for timely export.