Dozens of farmers, students and officials turned up for the launch.
Agriculture Minister Matai Seremaiah led a delegation to Tanna Island to launch the event and support the farmers.
Australian High Commissioner Jenny Da Rin was also present to witness the launch of Tanna potato planting programme and congratulated the farmers and the government for such an initiative.
“Australia is a good friend of Vanuatu and Tanna and Vanuatu has received DFAT assistance during and after TC Pam through various projects.” Australia is happy to fund this potato initiative and tractors to support Agriculture sector,” Da Rin said.
She also assured continued support to the sector going forward
Also present at the event were MPs Nako Natuman, Tom Nauwam and Johnny Koanapo who thanked the government for its commitment to farmers and the Minister of MALFFB and his delegation for travelling to Tanna to launch the programme.
Mr. Seremaiah reminded the farmers of his statements during the launch of the year of Agritourism earlier this year.
He pointed out the quantity of food that Vanuatu imports to cater for the tourists.
“According to a recent IFC report, 59% of food that tourists consume when in Vanuatu is imported but can be grown locally, and Tanna is the ideal location. We will focus on import substitution of only 3 main crops – Potato, Onions, and Carrots, as much as possible to create impact,” he said
Seremaiah said he is happy and thankful that officials from the Ministry of Trade are part of the delegation because they would be able to help farmers to access market for their produce.
He also added that a new Farmers Association Bill that he plans to take to Parliament this year, if enacted, will come to continue the Government’s assistance to farmers in rural areas and help raise their livelihoods
DARD’s Isaac Iaruel, a trained potato technician explained the husbandry of the crop and performed the planting methods at the first farming site.
Seremaiah planted the first potato and was joined by officials, students and farmers.
SOURCE: ONE PNG