House vice speaker Rep. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) has expressed wonder why so few people have availed of over 200 farm plots that the Department of Public Lands is making available to private individuals to encourage subsistence farming.
At a House session last week, Rep. Deleon Guerrero said he was surprised to learn that only 20 people have applied for the 200 farm plots that are being made available, describing it as a “great opportunity” for the community. He believes there is a need to clarify further and promote DPL’s program and its role in enhancing food security or sustainability in addressing any food shortage on the islands.
DPL is making available these public lands for people who want to farm these plots. DPL is not giving them the land; it is merely making the land available for use for a minimal fee. The goal of the program is to increase the islands’ food sustainability, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic. The program is open to all CNMI citizens 18 years old and above.
Deleon Guerrero said the situation with COVID-19 pandemic could be one factor why there is not much interest in the program. Another factor is possibly a lack of public information and motivation for people to avail of this public land in order to assist the economy.
He noted that each available lot measures 100×100 meters or 1,000 square meters and it would cost an applicant only $250 a year.
“This is a great opportunity,” he said.