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Santo Fish Market fully operational

Santo Fish Market fully operational
Santo Fish Market fully operational
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The Director General of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Moses Amos has revealed that Vanuatu’s fish consumption today is the lowest rate in the world according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics.
The Director General said in order to maintain good health our people need to eat more fish, at least 32 kilos of fish as recommended by WHO and not 15 to 21 kilos as they normally do.
Director General Amos was speaking at the official opening of the upgrade of Luganville Fish Market building on Thursday this week.
He encouraged the population of Luganville and Santo to make use of the fish market for food consumption in order to maintain good health and meet the recommendation of the WHO.
He cautioned that today people need to have a change of mindset if they are serious about developing the productive sector.
“We as ni-Vanuatu must step up to make some very challenging decisions and take risks otherwise we will continue to depend and be influenced by advice from outside which never got us anywhere,” he stressed,
He referred to the Department of Livestock during the CRP process as a classic example whereby advisors from outside recommended that it be closed down.
“Today, the Government has come forward to re-invest in the cattle industry, because we listened to outside advice to close down an area which has a lot of strength and potential to improve.
“Now the Government has come forward to re-invest in livestock, fisheries, forestry and in agriculture to meet the needs and services of our population,” he said.
“If we want development, we must ensure we are fed first. If you wake up this morning and you don’t eat a food that is produced in Vanuatu, then you have a slight problem – it simply means we are not self-reliant yet, we still depend on food we import from oversea,” he said.
Director General assured the population of Luganville that the fish market provides a linkage to Sino-Van whereby it will be able to supply the market with frozen by-catches especially during bad weather condition when there is not enough supply.
“The fish market will have a big impact on our population, not only as a centre to sell fish but also provide a venue whereby fishermen can get advice on how to improve their own production.
“When you sell your fish, you data is collected to enable the Government through the Ministry of Fisheries to monitor their activities and help fishermen increase their production,”
He said the fish market is fully funded by the Government, therefore it is funded by the people of Vanuatu and it is their project.
“This is a dream come true after 36 years,” he concluded.
The Director General of Trade, Tourism, Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Ni-Vanuatu Business, Roy Mickey Joy who joined his counterpart Director General of Agriculture on this occasion described the new fish market as another milestone for the people of Santo and SANMA Province.
Director General Joy said it is very encouraging to see the Government shifting focus onto Santo in terms of development projects and services as it has the potential to grow and develop.
He recount during his tenure as former Chairman of Foreign Investment Board that it was not easy trying to invest in Santo as most of the time its either the issue of land or the mindset of the people of Santo that do not welcome expatriate investors.
“But I am very happy today to witness today the change of mindset and we begin to see major developments arising as the launching of this new fish market to benefit and provide services to the people of SANMA province,” he said.
He advised the Lord Mayor of Luganville that he has a major role to play in linking this new fish market with all government and private entities in his town and municipality so they work in closer collaboration to sustain and maintain its operations.
He urged the Lord Mayor to use the Food Control Act which had existed over the last twenty years which gives power to the municipalities, health, police and the Vanuatu Bureau of Standard if there are issues arising in terms of food poisoning, risks or other factors to take control over the situation.
The Director of Fisheries, William Naviti said the upgrading costs which was funded by the Vanuatu Government is approximately VT2 million adding to a total of around VT10 million for the whole project.
He said the new upgrade extension include a cold storage room with a freezer and chiller storages that can take up to two tonnes of fish each, a modification room for grading and quality checks and fish processing to fully complete the fish market.
It is expected a sea-wall will be built to protect the building and pontoons will be installed to make life easier for the fishermen to offload their catches.
The fish market was initially launched in September 2018 by the current Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremiah.