Vanuatu: National Week of Agriculture in July

Luganville will be hosting the National Week of Agriculture from July 16 -20.

The event is expected to attract around 500 agricultural educators, specialists, program managers, producers and farmers across Vanuatu and the Pacific.

The national agriculture week is sponsored by the Vanuatu Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture.

Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremaiah has appointed an organising committee, headed by the acting Director of the Department of Agriculture in Luganville, Philip Panpan as the chairman.

“The national agriculture week will bring together a broad range of people who work with small-scale farmers and ranchers around Vanuatu,” said Panpan.

“It’s an opportunity for them to discuss the challenges facing small-scale producers, share experiences and learn how to better help struggling farmers stay profitable.

“Many farmers in this country are people with small-scale operations who struggle to stay afloat.Together, they make up the backbone of domestic agriculture. Rather than just survive, we want them to thrive in the next 10 years.”

According to the National Statistics agricultural census report in 2016, 88% of households in Vanuatu plant vegetables, 69% are involve in livestock, 57% in cash crops like copra and kava, 49% in fisheries, 46% in forestry and only 7% in spice crops.

“It’s critical that we find ways to support small-scale ni-vanuatu farmers, because thousands of families depend on farm income to survive,” Panpan said. “Their activities also contribute to the economic well-being of our small rural communities. Every locally produced agricultural vatu rolls over 10 times in a small town like Luganville.”

To become more profitable, small-scale farmers need to consider alternative production and marketing strategies, such as specialty crops, niche markets, value-added agriculture and direct marketing techniques, said Panpan. These issues and more will be discuss during the national agriculture week.

The national event will provide a venue for agricultural institutions, agencies and individuals to build partnerships and improve assistance and support for farmers. It will also offer high-quality knowledge to reinforce farmers’ skills and knowledge so they can be more effective at the grassroots level.

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