Vanuatu looks to agriculture to help diversify economy

The economy, which is mostly held up by tourism, has been ruined by the collapse of the visitor market since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our correspondent in Port Vila said 20 percent of the government's budget was being diverted to the Ministry of Agriculture to revive the country's once vibrant cooperatives.

The cash injection aimed to help the cooperatives trade their agricultural products throughout the country and overseas.

Vanuatu Agriculture Department assists communities affected by COVID-19

The main tasks under this agreement include pruning of shade trees and weeding of DARD’s banana and kava multiplication plots and planting of island cabbage on the multiplication plots of Tagabe Agriculture farm.

The multiplication plot was established for the collection, maintenance and generation of planting materials of DARD selected crops.

The Director for DARD, Antoine Ravo, said, “DARD intends to provide support to communities affected by the COVID-19 situation and especially those who seek financial support.

Vanuatu agriculture to receive VT1 billion as business feels COVID-19 impact

This was confirmed by the Economic Stabilisation Package team leader, Rex Willie.

He said this money will be removed from the Employment Stabilisation Package.

“If we have problems with imports of goods or jobs losses, we have agriculture to substitute,” said Willie.

At the recent opening of the Agriculture Show in Port Vila the Prime Minister announced 21% of next year’s national budget will be put into Ministry of Agriculture.

As Vanuatu government redirects it focus, other businesses in Vanuatu and around the region continue to suffer.

DARD signs agreement with VARTC for Research and Development of fruits and vegetables

The honor was given to the Acting Director General (DG) for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB), William Naviti, to sign the agreement on behalf of DARD Director, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for VARTC, Michel Lechapt.

“MALFFB Executive has agreed to involve the DG’s office to officiate the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement that DARD is implementing.

Director for DARD, Antoine Ravo said, “The agreement will assist VARTC in its research and development work focusing on fruits and vegetables.

Agriculture Regulations workshop planned for Santo

The main purpose of visiting the Assistant Agriculture Officers (AAO) in their areas, as scheduled in DARD’s 2020 Business Plan, is to find out their needs and challenges and how the forums have assisted them to address skills gaps and needs identified.

The first team is currently visiting Sanma Province.

A new Agriculture Act was passed in parliament in 2018 to provide for the management of the agriculture sector, especially with the commercial production.

The Act has mandated the Department of Agriculture to take lead on its implementation.

Vanuatu’s Shepherd Islands farmers encouraged to increase produce

SMAS was a very important event where participating farmers were observed and evaluated by technical officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Industry and Cooperatives to measure the level of production of farmers and what the farmers should do in preparation for the next Shepherds Mini Agriculture Show.

Farmers need to connect with buyers in the tourism industry

This applies also to tourists that visit the Pacific, according to the Hilton (2014) survey of travellers which says that 36 percent of tourists interviewed chose their holiday destination based on food and drinks on offer.

Vanuatu is the only country in the Pacific with an agri-tourism policy that recognises the link between agriculture and tourism. Its focus is on growing more local produce and encouraging hotels and restaurants to use local foods on their menu in the hope that it will eventually decrease their fresh food import bill.

Vanuatu farmer sings merits of growing yams

Several thousand ni-Vanuatus go to New Zealand each year as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer programme.

Rao Abel Yalu told the Daily Post that he had shown he could earn a significant income each week by selling at the Port Vila market.

He says his sons were convinced and have agreed to stay and help him plant more yams on the farm.

Mr Yalu says he planted his yams early last year to start harvesting them in January instead of May to avoid competition from other farmers. 

Increasing resilience to disasters in Vanuatu with right tools, knowledge

He is sending the latest information on crop production back to Port Vila to guide decisions about crop availability.

Vanuatu’s Extension Officers are being equipped and trained to respond to disasters and plan for improved resilience with practical training and “know-how.”

Rural women building food security

The community-based Food Security project is working with women from churches across Vanuatu to train them on how to conduct their own food security assessments in their village. The training also looks at how to prepare food supplies so that village families are more resilient in times of disaster.

The training has been organised by Vanuatu Christian Council. ‘Food security’ means that everyone has enough healthy and safe food all the time to have a strong and healthy life.