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MP Albert William (left) accompanies Minister Matai Seremaiah at launching at Ranon

By Len Garae

“European Development Fund through EDF11, New Zealand Government and Australian Centre of Institute in Agriculture Research recognise the Livestock Sector in Vanuatu, (which explains why they are) putting in a lot of resources especially with cattle.

“(Neighbour countries in the) region are following Vanuatu’s Livestock Sector development closely, and even the World Animal Health (is focused on how the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock are implementing the initiative)”.

The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forests, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Matai Seremaiah spoke with words to the effect when he launched the Government’s cattle restocking programme for Malampa Province at Ranon Junior Secondary School in North Ambrym one week ago today.

In the same way that animals are alive and move around, the Minister has described the Vanuatu Livestock Sector Policy as a “living document” that is expected to be reviewed to adapt to the ever changing scenarios in the livestock sector.

Livestock sector he said, contributes to the livelihood of 80% of the population of Vanuatu. “The Government through the MALFFB, recognises the importance of this sector and therefore, embarked in this new direction through the development of the Vanuatu Livestock Sector Policy which was launched on January 26 this year”, he said.

He congratulated the farmers for adopting the Government vision to contribute to increasing the number of cattle to 500,000 by 2025.

Touching on the “Yia blong Smol Laefstok mo ol Smolholda Laefstok Fama” initiative, the Minister said the message is to increase small livestock production of pigs, chicken, goats and others to one million by 2030.With the impact of climate change, the Minister said, “We want to see a livestock sector that is climate proof or resilient giving confidence to our farmers in terms of food security, employment and sustainable income generation.

“We appreciate that there are many challenges still unaddressed in this Province that are hindering livestock or other productive sector development. I am sure that these will be addressed through as a “partners in development” at provincial, Island and community level in a more collaborated and coordinated manner”.

He said the Government has a vision to develop and improve the livestock industry. “This is being realised through the development of National Livestock Policy, and other key documents as the Over Arching Productive Sector Policy and National Sustainable Development Plan and others linking with policies within MALFFB”, he continued.

Secretary of North Ambrym Council of Chiefs, Chief George Masing welcomed the Government delegation.

Area Council Secretary Jackon Willie joined the chief to thank the Government for the launching initiative to help the farmers. “This is the first time for the Government to focus on North Ambrym and our farmers are very grateful to you Minister and your team, for bringing to us new breeding herds to restock our farms”, he said.

He petitioned Minister to appoint an Agricultural Field Assistant to be based in North Ambrym to help the farmers.

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