NORTHERN MARIANAS FARMERS SEEK HOTEL BUSINESS

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Fresh produce currently imported from China

By Junhan B. Todeno SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 16, 2011) – In the Northern Mariana Islands, Ramon B. Camacho, one of the leaders of the Farmers Support Group, continues to ask hotels, restaurants, and caterers to patronize the produce of local farmers.

He said majority of the hotels are getting vegetables and other farm products from Chinese farmers.

But other hotels have expressed willingness to buy the produce of local farmers, he added.

Last week, Pacific Islands Club executive chef Akbar Habib said the hotel management supports local farmers.

He said he wants to help local farmers expand their production so the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) can reduce its dependence on imported vegetables and fruits.

Camacho, who is also chairman of the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, said he already distributed copies of the CNMI crop producer directory to hotels, restaurants and catering services.

The directory provides a list of legitimate farmers on Saipan and Rota who are also members of the Saipan Sabalu Farmers Market Inc.

Camacho said he has also discussed with the Hotel Association of Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) the possible membership of the farmers group.

On Guam, he added, the farmers group is a member of the hotel association.

By joining HANMI, Camacho said legitimate farmers will be informed about the needs of hotels and restaurants.

"This will reduce the importation of farm products," he added.

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