The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) highlighted the success of a farmer from Tanna who began planting rice three years ago.
Today, Nari Letaka of Lenaken Village in Middle Bush is providing rice as food for his family and selling rice locally.
Letaka said he has been growing the local rice he found in his garden, while weeding.
He said he believes that the seed of the rice plant comes from the seeds planted in 1970s rice programme.
“I found the rice plant while weeding my garden, so I took care of the plant until it produced seeds. There were 12 seeds so I took the seeds and planted them with my yams, until today,” Letaka said.
“I named the rice ‘Io-Tanna’, meaning ‘I’m from Tanna’,” he added.
Letaka said he is willing to supply seeds to interested farmers.
He added he has distributed the rice seeds to many farmers in Middle Bush to increase the production of local rice ‘lo-Tanna’.
“I took some of this rice to Santo last year (2018), to showcase during the National Agriculture Festival. The seeds that I have with me now, will be cultivated on a 9-hectare area.”
“I still have enough seeds if any local farmer is interested to plant, sell and eat rice,” he said.
A rice plot of 20m x 30m is ready for harvest within a few weeks’ time.
Photo supplied. Caption: Nari Letaka’s rice farm at Middle Bush on Tanna