The Department of Public Lands has received four applications so far under its new program that makes available over 200 farm plots to private individuals for subsistence farming to increase the island’s food sustainability during this COVID-19 pandemic situation.
In response to Saipan Tribune’s request for an update about the farm plots program, Deveney Dela Cruz, special assistant to the DPL secretary, said yesterday that the four applications are still being processed.
“No grants or denials yet,” Dela Cruz said.
The program will award over 200 farm plots, consisting of 1,000 square meters each, to private individuals for “subsistence farming.”
Dela Cruz said that, according to their Real Estate Division, the fee for each 1,000 square meters farm plot is $250 annually.
“This is open to all CNMI citizens 18 and above,” Dela Cruz said.
DPL announced the new program last Oct. 19.
DPL Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo stated that their goal is to maximize the use of public lands to benefit the community. Concepcion-Teregeyo underscored the importance during this time of COVID-19 to increase food sustainability on the island and reduce reliance on imported food.
DPL said these subsistence farm plots are temporary and renewable every year.
DPL said they saw the community’s response as a result of the global pandemic when backyard gardening became a popular pastime.