This year marks a milestone for the Mafilau Coffee Farmers Association on the island of Epi since 2012 when it was given 2,000 coffee seedlings to get on its feed just after establishment.
The seedlings were delivered by the Tanna Coffee and Vanuatu Agriculture Department. Four years later, the young and struggling association have celebrated its first harvest of 51kg green beans.
Formed in 2011, this coffee farmers association is headed by a female, Eny Yona.
Providing a stable production of coffee, enhancing the coffee industry and ensuring a steadfast income stream for more farmers in Vanuatu was the idea of supplying the seedlings to the small association, said the Operations Manager of the Tanna Coffee, Yasmine Adlington-Walden.
“We (the Tanna Coffee) have future plans to replicate this success story on many other islands in Vanuatu.
“We are proud of the achievement of the Epi farmers. We will continue to support them as they grow, develop and value add to the country’s coffee industry, said another Tanna Coffee Spokesperson, Nambas Jacob Samuel. Mr Samuel went to the Epi to visit the farmers on Epi and has supplied an addition 32kg of coffee seeds to boost production.
The Mafilau Coffee Farmers Association has also been provided with a coffee pulper machine.
It is a device used to remove the pulp from a coffee cherry after it has been harvested. The cherries are passed through a pulping machine for the skin and pulp to be separated from the coffee bean.
An occasion was held at the village of Mafilau on west Epi to commemorate the first Epi coffee harvest.
Councillor of the west area council, Joseph Merip, who is also the leading cocoa farmer on Epi said the soil on the island is ideal for growing both cocoa and coffee.
“Its high time that the farmers on Epi start growing more cash crops like cocoa, coffee and kava.
"Epi's coffee flavor is unique, similar to its cocoa", he added.
The coffee association is small but it is growing slowly, he said.