The families have returned to the island after they were evacuated last year when the volcano erupted.
According to the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) based at Saratamata sub-centre on Ambae, the largest repatriation was over the festive season.
On Friday, 17 January, the Director of DOL, Lonny Bong visited Ambae to brief the TAG members and the PENAMA Provincial Administrator about the re-establishment plan for livestock services for the island, as well as announce the commencement of the recovery plan in February starting off with chickens.
“Food for the people is the ministry’s priority thus the recovery’s initiative is to ensure there is a balance diet for our population especially our children. Therefore, this recovery initiative will address these points as our priority,” said Mr Bong.
He said a lot of focus will be on small livestock including chickens, ducks and pigs to support immediate protein supplement for peoples diet as well as address food security.
However, restocking of cattle will be considered later in the year.
Mr Bong acknowledged the effort and support rendered by TAG under the leadership of the provincial Administrator, to continue to address farmers needs following the repatriation.
On behalf of TAG, the provincial administrator said TAG appreciates the visit adding people of Ambae are in need of livestock as most of these small livestock either roam wild or were killed by the ash fall.
As part of the recovery initiative for Ambae, Mr Bong announced that in the fourth week of January, a team from a DOL team will return to Saratamata to re-establish the Provincial DOL office as well as re-establish livestock services.
Since disaster struck, the provincial livestock officer based at Saratamata was transferred to another post leaving the PENAMA post vacant.
However, Mr Bong also confirmed to TAG member’s that PSC has appointed an officer to fill the vacancy and will commence work on February 1.
He said the presence of the new officer means livestock extension services commences on Ambae.
As a gesture to show the government’s commitment to re-establish livestock services, Mr Bong presented 50 chickens of ‘dual purpose’ breeds of Sussex, Australope and Rhode Island Red, to a local chicken producer at Saratamata.
Following this announcement, the Director also committed to installing a chicken egg incubator at Saratamata in order to realize the target of 2,000 chickens to be distributed throughout the island.
Photo supplied Caption: TAG members at a meeting