Willie Iau pruning

SHEFA Provincial Agriculture Officer, Willie Iau, at Tagabe Agriculture farm cassava plot, trimming cassava tops. Pruning top of cassava plants is an adaptation technique to save crops during cyclone and it prevents cassava plants from being destroyed by strong winds. Many farmers are already practising it.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is reminding all farmers throughout the country that Vanuatu is still in the cyclone season that commenced in November 2018 and will end in April this year.

The Department of Agriculture advises all farmers to consider these messages before a tropical cyclone event.

In areas where the farm houses are located, cut off tree branches close to farm houses that could cause damage, remove old farm houses that are not needed, reinforce the roofing of the farm house with nails or a rope and bar the windows of the farm house with iron roofing or timber.

In the gardens, farmers should remove leaves from bananas, prune island cabbages, trim top of the cassava plants, harvest the bananas that are ready, harvest water taro that might be washed away by water, and harvest enough food and store them at home.

In addition, local farmers should harvest the fruits that are ready and those that are almost ready and store them at home, keep the seeds to replant again and remove tree branches that might be broken by strong winds.

DARD continues to advise local farmers that after a tropical cyclone event, farm houses destroyed by the winds should be repaired.

In the gardens, dig up cassava that have been destroyed by winds, if there are too many cassava, dig a hole in the soil to store the extra cassava, harvest other food crops that are still good and store them at home, replant island cabbage branches that are broken, prune kava branches that are broken and replanting the branches, prepare banana suckers for replanting, replant sweet potato stems and prune the branches of trees that are broken.

It is important that all farmers should keep tuning in to all radio outlets for update information on any Tropical Cyclone that affects Vanuatu.

For more information on these key messages and further advice, farmers are advised to contact DARD officers in the provinces or any DARD officers nearby.

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