The long-term plan is to create opportunities for Public Private Partnership (PPP) commercial rice projects to cultivate rice locally.
This would address the domestic market’s demand and more importantly help the government through its disaster food response as well as develop a Vanuatu Rice Strategy road map for the industry.
Minister for Agriculture, Hosea Nevu has assured rice farmers that the ministry will continue to support them by providing technical husbandry and family farming training on rice cultivation.
Rice farmers will also be helped to source quality seeds and improve storage with appropriate processing tools and materials.
Mr. Nevu recently visited rice farms on Tanna island.
In 2012, a rice farmers association in Middle Bush Tanna was established under the EU NARI-ARD Project which then set up a mini rice milling machine operated and managed by the association members.
According to DARD, the current focus under its rice progamme is to sustain and supplement household food security and reduce household expenditure on imported rice in such communities, but not for trade and export markets.
Ideal productive islands for commercial rice production in Vanuatu are Santo, Malekula, Epi and Erromango.
Photo supplied Caption: Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) for Middle Bush Tanna, Sam Naliko, conducting rice training with key farmers.