Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities Jotham Napat says the demand for meat on Tanna to meet cultural obligations is so high that one single bullock costs Vt200,000.
Cultural obligations on the island are so regular that cattle farmers have run out of cattle to sell, says the Minister.
The Minister’s latest report only confirms similar remarks made earlier by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forests, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Matai Seremaiah, that the Government’s restocking programme on Tanna was unlikely to succeed due to the high demand for beef down there.
The Minister had recommended for families to consider using small livestock including chickens and goats to carry out cultural activities in the family.
Tanna is a very fertile island where potatoes, carrots and onions and a wide range of vegetables grow well in the volcanic soil.
The Minister said MALFFB said farmers must concentrate on vegetables on Tanna instead.
The Minister of MIPU who is currently Acting Minister of MALFFB while his colleague is on official duty in Asia, implies to the Consultants working on a new Livestock Act, to come up with relevant alternatives to address cultural obligations regarding beef.
Meanwhile a MALFFB Technical Team what went to Tanna to plant potatoes, carrots and onions in April this year saw isolated cattle on plantations on the road to South Tanna.
A young farmer in Middle Bush called Alfred has over 100 heads of cattle on his family farm and says he has refused to sell any head of cattle until he is ready.