Vila Times

Gaua Farmers go into mechanization, Seremiah expects increase in production by 2020

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A brand new tractor worth VT11 million was handed over to the farmers of Gaua island in the TORBA Province by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB), Matai Seremiah this week, Tuesday October 15th.
Minister Seremiah led a delegation from his Ministry comprising his Director General, Moses Amos, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Antoine Ravo, and Director of Livestock, Lonny Bong in a charter flight to travel to Gaua island to specifically hand-over the new tractor before landing again in the island of Motalava to officiate the opening of the TORBA Agri-Fish-Tourism Festival which opened yesterday October 16th.
Handing over the machinery, Minister Seremiah l challenged the farmers of Gaua saying he expects to see an increase of production of agriculture products by the year 2020.
The new tractor is part of the Vanuatu Government’s farm mechanization strategies within the agriculture sector and it is the third, which was funded and purchased this year by the Vanuatu Government through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Two other similar tractors have been purchased and handed over to the farmers of Malekula and Santo.
The use of these mechanized tools and machineries, in particular, the use of tractors are to assist farmers with light bush clearings, improving road access to arable farm sites, digging dams, post hole preparation for fencing and ploughing fields which will assist in increase agriculture productivity and land management. The provision of the first lots of tractors were made possible through Australian Government (DFAT) assistance under the Cyclone PAM Recovery and Economic Strengthening Program in 2017.
Since 2017, MALFFB through the Department of Agriculture has seen the purchase of seven new tractors, which were dispersed throughout the provinces. Three of these tractors funded under DFAT were sent to the islands of Erromango, Tanna and Epi while one, which was funded by the MFAT, was handed over to the farmers of Maewo
The mechanized farming program is expected to expand agricultural activities beyond traditional subsistence farming practices to medium scale farming practice through the use of machineries in order to increase production opportunities.