11 Apr 2011

Most in American Samoa don't qualify for farm aid

3:15 pm on 11 April 2011

The majority of people who have sought farm loan assistance from the

US Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency in American Samoa are those who have been laid off and have now turned to farming for their livelihood.

A loan programme technician with the agency, Letisha Gaoa, says of the 50 inquiries they've received, most are from people who have lost their jobs in the recent downturn.

But she says most don't qualify for assistance.

"We weren't able to assist the majority of the inquiries because of the citizenship status of the FSA farm loan programme is form commercial farmers who are born here in American Samoa or in the US. So you have to be a US citizen or a national to be eligible for the progamme, and commercially farming."

The Farm Service Agency's Letisha Gaoa.