Vila Times

Minister Assures Totolag Community Kava Project of more kava cuttings from DARD

Minister Assures Totolag Community Kava Project of more kava cuttings from DARD
Minister Assures Totolag Community Kava Project of more kava cuttings from DARD
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Totolag Community Kava project on Mota Lava in Torba Province was established in 2016 after the launching of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) kava replanting programme.
The first distribution of kava planting materials were provided to the communities on Mota Lava island at that time.
DARD office in Torba Province worked with the chiefs to identify three kava project sites on Mota Lava. One of the project sites is Totolag village.
The project site was selected purposely to increase kava production as kava supply is very low on Mota Lava. Most kava supplies are sourced from Gaua and Vanua Lava.
“We decided to allocate a central location and establish kava nurseries of noble kava varieties. Around 3,000 kava cuttings were planted and distributed to communities of Totolag village,” Torba Provincial Agriculture (PAO) Officer, Peter Maoh, said.
Mr Maoh continued, “A committee was formed to oversee the kava project.
“Unfortunately most of the kava plants could not survive due to poor management practices.
“There were many contributing challenges as many communities were involved heavily in community work.
“Farmers also needed to be informed of how to handle kava plants during longer periods of drought and the practice of pruning and replanting of branches to ensure multiplication of production.
“The DARD office in Torba has set up this initiative with the community as a model that other farmers and communities could adopt and set up their own kava plots.
“This is to ensure that the communities would be able to generate their own income and improve their livelihoods, at the same time maintain replanting of kava,” PAO for Torba province, Peter Maoh stated.
He said, “Gaua island is the main kava producing island in Torba province. Most kava cuttings were sourced from Gaua under DARD’s kava replanting programme.
“Our future plan is to increase kava plots. Assistant Agriculture Officers will work with communities to set up 10 alley plots to plant 10 noble kava varieties. Ten plots will be established in each community so that future generations will be able to differentiate the 10 noble varieties of kava.
“I encourage farmers to plant kava and intercrop with other root crops so that that farmers have short term and long term benefits of their production,” Maoh said.
Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Hon. Matai Seremaiah, visited Totolag Community Kava project last week, during his tour to Mota Lava. He received a request from the Kava project committee if the department concerned could provide more kava cuttings for replanting.
Minister Seremaiah has assured the kava project committee that the DARD will provide more cuttings for replanting.
“DARD’s field officers need to work more closely with the community to provide technical advice and knowledge on farming techniques that farmers should adopt during dry season.
“This is to ensure we do not keep on repeating the same thing. We want to see farmers grow their own kava and keep the money circulating within the island instead of purchasing kava powder from Santo.
“Farmers should seek more information from field officers on the ground to ensure kava plots are well managed to adapt to climate conditions.
“Intercropping kava with other root crops is a very good practice that farmers should implement and farmers should select best locations for planting.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, I am now launching the Totolag Community Kava Project. DARD will provide more kava cuttings for distribution to other interested farmers.
“I acknowledge your efforts, chiefs and the people. I appeal to you all to take great care of Vanuatu’s green gold.
“Kava is Vanuatu’s green gold so I expect you all to treat it as a gold,” Minister Seremaiah concluded. (Source: DARD) (CAPTION: Minister Seremaiah visits Totolag Community Kava project site)