Vila Times

DARD encourage farmers to plant Vanilla

DARD encourage farmers to plant Vanilla
DARD encourage farmers to plant Vanilla
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The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) team recently made a visit to the island of Malo last week purposely to meet up with the Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) for Malo, Bakon Riu, and visited some of the key farmers whom he has been working with that have made significant commitment to cultivated specific crops to improve their livelihood, food security and income.
The island of Malo is well-known of its high production of copra, cocoa, yams and spices in the Northern part of Vanuatu.
Director for DARD, Antoine Ravo, said “The visit aimed to observe the impact of the agriculture extension services provided to key farmers by the AAO, demonstrate moral support to the AAO and farmers activities and to identify the challenges that needs assistance to be addressed and the farmers level.
“According to DARD’s 2020 Business Plan, 2,000 vanilla cuttings should be distributed to interested farmers and planted as such, DARD plans to support farmers to plant the crop.
“Vanilla is a potential crop that has a huge market in Port Vila, Luganville and overseas.
Iya Boe, is one of the key vanilla farmers on Malo who has produced over 1,000 planting holes of vanilla since he started to plant vanilla in 2017.
“This is an indication of positive production of vanilla which is also an example of the requirements that we want to see reflected in the standards regulated by DARD to ensure that farmers elevate to another level to meet the quality of market standards,” Director Ravo stated.
Farmer Boe was inspired by his father who had planted vanilla in the 60’s that earned significant amount of income so he decided to invest in vanilla as a source of income for his families.
Boe said that his target is to plant over 5,000 vanilla plants altogether on his farm.
“My target is to do mass production so that I can produce 200 to 300 kilo from every batch of harvest regularly when the crop is in season. My first plot has over 1,000 vanilla plants and another plot contains about 4,000 and more.
Farmer Boe continue that “Some of the challenges in establishing and maintaining vanilla plots is related to bush clearing, maintaining and managing his vanilla plots using appropriate tools.
“Another challenge concerns the hand pollination requirement of vanilla which may be the main reason why a lot of farmers lose interest in vanilla farming. Currently, vanilla buyers include LCM store and Venui vanilla on Santo purchasing vanilla beans at around VT 38,000 per kilo equivalent to a ton of copra.
DARD team to Malo island comprised of DARD Director, Antoine Ravo, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) Executive Officer, Alfred Bani, DARD Acting Deputy Director, Mark Vurobaravu, Acting Principal Planning and Policy Officer, Gwenneth N Tari and MALFFB Officer, Gwendoline Kalsev. (CAPTION: Farmer Boe (l) and Director Ravo (r )