Public market adds hours, outlook brightens


The $60,000 newly infused funds for the Garapan Public Market has been deposited into their account, according to an official of the CNMI Farmer’s Cooperative Association, which runs the market.

With these funds, they already bought new equipment, will have a phone number for the first time, and will extend their operation hours, among other things, according to cooperative secretary Isidoro Cabrera yesterday.

The money was appropriated by the Saipan and Northern Island Legislative Delegation last month. The funds were received last week and deposited in full that same day, according to Cabrera.

He said the market has already started to put up a chiller and other equipment to support daily operations

The market is now open Monday to Wednesday, from 10am to 6pm, as of yesterday. On Thursdays, they open at the same time but close at 7pm.

On Friday, they open a 10am and close at 6pm. The market will also operate during Saturdays, from 1pm to 6pm.

These new hours have extended operations by a handful of hours and into the weekend. They previously closed at 3pm, according to Cabrera.

“We can pay the workers longer hours,” he said, describing it as “good news.”

“Everything will be changing in the coming future,” he added.

As for the turnout of produce to fill the market, he said this is “looking good.”

“This month, next month, there will be a lot of produce—all the way ’til June there will be a lot of produce coming in,” he said.

But he added that they still “need members to support the market.”

“Once you buy a share, you are a part-owner of the market,” he added.

The market will also finally have its own landline number. Cabrera said the landline has been installed already, and they are just waiting for the application to go through IT&E.

He said they expect to have the line activated “either today or tomorrow.”

Other things they are planning to purchase with the $60,000 are seeds, fertilizers, and other things that their farmers need, he said.

“A lot of times, when Ace [Hardware] or a seed supplier runs out of good seeds—sometimes farmers order their own seeds directly from the company—but it’s more convenient when you have it directly on the island,” he said.

He added that fresh fish like tilapia, which are in big demand, are “in the plans already.”

“The more we have, the more customers will be attracted,” he said.

The Garapan Public Market opened in August, funded through a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since then they have fallen through hard times, operating on a deficit, reportedly due to lack of produce to sell during bad weather, among other things.

The co-op asked for the new funds from the local delegation in September.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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