Vila Times

Linking Tahitian Lime Farmers to Export Market

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A team comprising of representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Dynamic Vanuatu and Biosecurity Vanuatu visited two plots of about 100 Tahitian lime (TL) plants at Paunangisu, Efate.
These two plots are owned by two farmers. There are other farmers in Paunangisu and around neighbouring villages who planted TL but were not visited during the trip. The field trip was an assessment of farmers’ production capacity and their compliance to Biosecurity export requirement in order to supply TL export market in New Zealand (NZ) secured by Dynamic Vanuatu.
The plots visited were well maintained in terms of lawn management as per Biosecurity expectation. Only a number of old fruits laying on the ground and advised to have cleared from the plot by Biosecurity expectation stating that this can contribute to attracting pest and diseases to the plots.
The plants are continuously producing with TL fruits of different stages of development and whilst there is potential to select fruits that can meet Dynamic’s market requirement, any time now.
The Coordinator of Project Local, Dynamic Vanuatu, Jennifer Bowtell, expressed satisfaction and willingness to work with these TL farmers to help familiarize themselves with the market standard and has requested the Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) for North Efate, Keith Amos, to negotiate with the farmers in his area to be informed of the development activities that are emerging towards this NZ TL market so that they may contribute to the trial TL export which Dynamic is looking forward to send to shortly. Dynamic also informed that chances are high that this market will work out well and other TL farmers need to support each other by way of contributing to the consistency of TL supply when transactions start rolling – not to mention the income benefit for the TL farmers.
Asked when this trial export will start, Ms Bowtell responded that “the company is now ready to trial the TL export but awaits the Biosecurity approval of field inspection prior to giving the “thumbs up” sign to the company.
“Currently Dynamic did not give a definite answer with regards to what price the company plans to offer to farmers but stated that it will be a price that Dynamic is sure TL farmers will be happy with. For more exact information in terms of figure, Dynamic stated that this should be available to farmers once the trial export has taken place,” Jennifer Bowtell, Project Local coordinator said.
However, it is important to understand that because of factors that are active in big open markets such as in New Zealand, Dynamic stress that their purchase price is likely to change on monthly basis and not remain the same, as is the case for many crop produces in Vanuatu local market.
TL farmers usually sell their produce at 200 – 250 per kilo in the local market.
Dynamic is eager to support Vanuatu TL farmers make use of this NZ market window which is usually open from August to February (about 28 weeks duration) and very much looks forward for TL farmers on Efate to support the company in this endeavour with the hope of maintaining the connection and growing the TL supply locally.
TL is one of the priority crops identified for EDF11 support. Although it have taken several years to have this market established between TL suppliers and Dynamic, it is hoped that once established, quality and consistency of TL supply can be maintained for export market. Hence, the efforts taken by TL farmers, DARD, Biosecurity and the Department of Industries so far should be not be considered tedious given the lengthy time period that has lapsed in putting progress to having TL exported. Perseverance is key to providing the necessary support, which with collaborative effort will allow Dynamic to make this market a reality for Vanuatu TL farmers and Vanuatu as a nation. There is also the possibility that helpful lessons can be learnt from this long awaited process. Source: DARD