Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Vanuatu Agriculture Ministry ‘Challenged’ To Turn A Profit
Minister plans to support biosecurity, livestock divisions

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 13, 2013) – The Prime Minister has challenged Vanuatu Minister of Agriculture Kalvau Moli to turn his ministry into a revenue earning Portfolio and the Minister is focused to make the directive a reality.

In the presence of the Director General of Agriculture, William Nasak, and directors of Livestock and Biosecurity Vanuatu, the Minister said the directive by the Prime Minister is going to be his "principal pillar" for the next four years.

Before June of this year, he wants to see passed legislation, a plan, a road map by the Department of Agriculture showing how it is going to make money through the services it provides. "If you tell me, ‘Minister I think that [the Vanuatu Commodities and Marketing Board (VCMB)] should come under the Ministry of Agriculture,’ I would do that for you but first of all, you must show me how it is going to be achieved. I need a Coconut Policy to make sure that can happen," the Minister said.

"This is because it is all about (earning) revenue and those small farmers and people in the islands who toil day in and day out in their farms and villages still do not have access to service delivery."

Under his Agriculture Policy, the Minister wants to see Biosecurity Vanuatu become a fully incorporated entity in 2014 and the Department of Livestock to develop to a stage where it also becomes an entity.

The Minister said people have lost the spirit of patriotism, or love for one’s country, in the last 32 years.

The nationalistic pride for one’s country is lost. "We are like a sandwich: on one side we have eleven DGs, 13 Ministers and seven to nine thousand public servants who are trying to fend for this country, but at the same time trying to anticipate if their transfer from one workplace to another is going to affect the payment of their children’s school fees on Monday (February 4)," the Minister said.

"Agriculture is a principal pillar of my Agriculture Policy in my campaign, and that is why I have always admired the policy introduced by the late Minister of Agriculture, Onneyn Tahi, when he sent breeding bulls to individual small farmers in the islands, to help them improve the quality of their beef and increase the size of their herds.

"It was an expensive exercise but the truth is that today, small holder farmers continue to own the largest number of cattle in the country."

The Minister also touched on the importance of feeder roads to enable farmers to bring their produce to the market before moving on to value added products.

Giving as a typical example is the latest tar sealed road from the Northern Town to Port Olry, he said: "It won’t need to be maintained for the next seven years so the money that is set aside for maintenance can be utilized by us to put to good use where you in Livestock want us to use it."

One possibility is to improve or build access roads for small farmers who live way in land Santo in Matantas to use to bring their cattle to Luganville for sale.

Vanuatu Daily Post:
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