Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Antoine Ravo says they approved a proposed budget for the shipment of freshly harvested agricultural produce to the main markets in Port Vila.
In other words, farmers need to accept that it is cheaper to sell their produce at the farm gate.
“What it means is that the market will come to buy your produce or products at your doorstep or farm, to cut down on the farmer’s transportation costs from the farm to the market,” Director Ravo explains.
“Perhaps farmers may think selling at their doorstep won’t bring much money but in reality, it can be said that the money is all profit because the farmer won’t spend money to move his produce.
“What it means is that the farmer must be encouraged to plant more instead of spending precious time to travel to attend to market requirements leaving his farm behind.”
He says he and his team are confident that the business transaction will be carried out between the farmer and the buyer which is the Department of Cooperatives via the Vanuatu Cooperative Business Network (VBCN).
A traditional example is onion which grows well locally especially on Tanna and Epi.
“We have our local markets for onions with our local restaurants, resorts as well as Au Bon Marche. These are markets which will be approached through VCBN,” Ravo said.
The newly appointed VCBN General Manager is Jack Loughman.
DARD’s confirmation has fallen exactly in line with Loughman’s Efate Cooperative Farmer Association’s Aniasiasmol Cooperative Society, which was launched at Club Hippique in the Cooperative’s foods and drinks processing and packaging workshop earlier this year.