Not much interest in farm plots program


Only a few people availed of over 200 farm plots that the Department of Public Lands is making available to private individuals to encourage subsistence farming.

This was learned when Saipan Tribune tried to obtain updates about the farm plots program, with Public Lands Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo, saying last week, “We don’t have as much of an interest, or we don’t have that many applicants for subsistence [farming].”

She said they received only about 20 applicants.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said she does not know why there is not much interest in the program. “We’re making it available and it’s up to them if they want to avail or not,” she said.

The goal of the program is to increase the island’s food sustainability, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic situation.

For those who want to avail of this program, Concepcion-Teregeyo said they’re working on getting the roads open near the farm plots. For farm plots that are located on the edge of a road, DPL is now preparing to issue the permits, she said.

Deveney Dela Cruz, special assistant to the DPL secretary, recently stated that according to their Real Estate Division, the fee for each 1,000-square-meter 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.

Concepcion-Teregeyo earlier stated that their goal is to maximize the use of public lands to benefit the community. She underscored the importance of this program during this COVID-19 pandemic 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 past time.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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