With the help of highly qualified Chinese Trainers, ni-Vanuatu farmers on Efate and as far as Malampa Province are using Chinese farming methods to turn more farm plots at Tagabe Agriculture Training Centre to look more like farms in any Chinese Province in mainland China.
Shefa Provincial Agricultural Officer and Coordinator of RSE and SWP Employment Preparedness, Willie Iau, speaks highly of Chinese farming methods through Vegetable Cultivation Technology saying, “We come here to learn various methods of nursery as well as different methods of preparing nurseries. For example, over there we hand-sprinkled the seeds while here; seeds are placed in plastic trays then covered by tarpaulin. After three days germination takes place and in the afternoon the plastic cover is removed to allow the due at night to nurture the new plants. These techniques are taught to ni Vanuatu farmers to help produce seasonal crops off season as well”, explains Iau.
“After seven days, the seedlings are transplanted to the next field which is prepared with organic fertilizer complete with a dripping pipe in the soil. It looks all green above because of moisture beneath”.
Iau says the advantage of the Chinese farming technique is that Vanuatu has two seasons – wet and dry seasons. “With this drift method we can plant these crops from January to January and they will always be available at the market”.
Director of Agriculture, Antoine Ravo says the Chinese farmers’ connection with Vanuatu is as a result of a bilateral agreement between Vanuatu and China.
While in the past many ni-Vanuatu students have studied Agriculture in China, since then it has become obvious that some of the lessons learned were not relevant to Vanuatu’s climatic conditions.
Director Ravo says for this reason, it has become clear that Chinese farming experts come to Vanuatu to train local farmers in our own climatic conditions.
This is the second training after the training of rice planting in Santo. “What we want to see is that the skills learned by the current farmers are passed on to those who are not present at the training this week”, Ravo says.
“The other important goal is to increase the production of vegetables in the country towards achieving food security both during and off season”.
While other major projects are coming through EDF11, Ravo says the objective of the Chinese Long Bing High Tech Training Programme is to also filter through to all Provinces to help provincial farmers to also achieve food security.
Asked if the Chinese experts are going to go to train in the Provinces as well, the Director says while there are certain conditions to meet, the Chinese trainers are prepared to go to train farmers in the Provinces.
The Director and Coordinator also show special nurseries which are covered with plastic tarpaulin. Each row is inserted with a plastic pipe which supplies water to keep the ground moist at all times. The nurseries are growing fast for transplanting purposes.
Leaving the fields to nature, we walk into a double-classroom packed by farmers of all ages, taught by Chinese lecturers on how to plant seasonal vegetables. The training is continuing to the end of the week.