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23 January 2021

Financial lifeline to growers

Monday 30 March 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Economy


Vital financial support given to farmers and growers in unprecedented times of need due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Clients of the Business Trade Investment Board will breathe a sigh of relief with the government’s relief package of six months deferred payment of principal plus interest.

This means that existing clients will not need to make any payments to their loan, starting from April 1 until September 30 2020.

Repeta Puna, chief executive Business Trade Investment Board said this grace period is provided by the government in recognition of the fact that they are the most vulnerable on the market.

Any small change in market behaviour affects them greatly, Puna said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused havoc so it is expected that the agricultural sector will be hugely affected; much more than others. Six per cent of our clients are in the agricultural sector, the six month deferred payment will certainly provide some relief,” Puna said.

“These current extraordinary times have affected the livelihoods of our farmers, as hotels and restaurants are no longer needing fresh produce.”

Danny Mataroa, the president of Te Tango Enua Food Security Group for Cook Islands, welcomed the support.

Mataroa, who is also a Business Trade Investment Board member, said this is a vital support for the farmers in this time of need.

“Given the downturn we are facing, the income of these growers will surely be affected and it’s good that the minister (George Angene) decided to come up with this initiative to help the growers in the country,” he said.

Business Trade Investment Board hopes the relief period is sufficient enough for clients to get through the rough times and prepare themselves and their businesses to bounce back with renewed energy.

“We welcome the spirit of togetherness and want to reflect the fact that we are in this together,” said Repeta Puna.

Clients will be contacted in the next few days, for more information phone 24296 during working hours.