Mr Seremaiah visited the farmers attending the training at Tagabe Agriculture Station and reiterated that the government’s policy is to increase production.
Most of the products that Vanuatu is currently importing can be grown and produced locally.
This was revealed by the minister to encourage the farmers to continue to till their land to increase production.
The vegetable cultivation technology training is aimed at training farmers to plant vegetables during off- season period to ensure sustainable supply of vegetables at the local markets and also for home consumption.
“With the import substitution policy, we ensure that tourists coming into the country consume food produced in Vanuatu,” Mr Seremaiah said.
The Minister stated that out of the top ten countries of the world ranking (Triple burden) in terms of obesity, unbalanced diet and malnutrition, seven of the countries are from the Pacific region.
“This means that even though we have healthy food, our diet is unbalanced.
“Most places that the MALFFB team had visited, most of you farmers focus more on money. We plant to sell and buy unhealthy foods that will affect our health.
“That is why in the Pacific, we talked about organic, fertile land and healthy food, still our diet is unbalanced.
“I have witnessed this in most of the places I have visited. Most farmers are concentrating in planting kava and not root crops and vegetables.
“At the end of the day, they tend to purchase imported food from the shops. If we continue this way, we will have an unhealthy population and when our population is unhealthy, our country is unhealthy because Vanuatu’s economy and development depends on its human resources.
“I encourage you farmers to go back after this training and plant more local food for your families, but not just for sale (at the market).
Many issues were raised during the discussions one of which was how farmers could have access some of the new technology like the greenhouse that was established during the training.
Mr Seremaiah said a bilateral agreement was signed recently between the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu and MALFFB to work together.
“I will seek assistance from the Chinese Embassy to assist with the greenhouse facilities to provide to you farmers in the six provinces,” he said.
Photo supplied Caption: Minister Matai Seremaiah visiting the participating farmers at Tagabe Agriculture Station