A former student of the Vanuatu Agriculture College (VAC) has put what he learnt into practice and the result is exceptional.
24-year-old Alfred Sam from Tanna made more than VT2 million during the festive season just by selling watermelons at the market in Port Vila.
“I undertook Certificate III in Agriculture which covers all agriculture, forestry, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture in 2014 to 2016 so i am practically specialized in all areas,” he said.
“I was provided field training by mentor and Farm Supervisor of Milai Farm, Mr Peter Napwatt in July 2016 for six months and with all the knowledge and skills i gained i planted half a hectare of land of watermelons last year.”
Before venturing into planting watermelon, Sam was a farm supervisor in 2017 and also supervised a group of workers in the Seasonal Workers Program in NSW, Australia until he returned to Vanuatu in September 2018.
“When I returned I used a portion of the money i earned in the SWP, (VT80,000) to buy watermelon seeds and the cultivation on a land near the Blue Water Resort at Rentabao area,” he said.
“I planted 810 watermelon seedlings on October 2nd and harvested in December 15 with a target of VT 2.7 million by end of harvest.”
Sam’s target was met within a short period of time when he started selling his melons prior Christmas Day and New Year’s eve.
“The melons are selling at the cheapest price in town for VT200 per kilo and by the end of last month, i raked in VT2.3 million,” Sam said.
“I am selling the melons at the main market with a price range from VT300 to VT3,800 and i am still harvesting which should be finished by end of next week.”
Asked what Sam plans to do with the money, the young man already has plans for a cattle project on Tanna and he’s saving as much capital to kick-start the project which no doubt will succeed in Alfred’s capable hands.
“I am working on a cattle project on Tanna and i need capital to start and run this business,” he said.
“I have gained a wealth of experience in sales and marketing from my field training on Santo and i have seen the results in doing agriculture, hence i advise all young people to get involve in agriculture, you won’t be disappointed.”
Mentor and newly appointed VAC CEO, Peter Napwatt has congratulated Sam for a job well done and he is satisfied that the training provided by VAC and himself is proving that ‘there is money in the ground’.
“I am happy to see the results of Sam’s work and the results shows the worth of agriculture here in Vanuatu,” he said.
“To our youth out there, if you’re considering coming to VAC, you have to be someone who loves the smell and feel of the ground, you must be someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty because at the end of the day you will be able to achieve the positive results.”
Mr Napwatt is in Vila to help counsel students awarded with scholarships on what career paths to take.
“VAC has introduced diploma courses in 2018 and we are currently working on cross-credit course with other universities to enable students attending VAC to further their degree courses in those institutions,” he said.
“VAC will be updating its program to offer degree program in 2020 so we are encouraging anyone who is interested especially the young people to contact VAC to see what course they are able to take.”
Mr Napwatt advised the young people to choose a career that they are happy to take on because at the end of the day one’s well-being and happiness is what matters.
“Many today get trained just to make money and not for the happiness in the work they do, you must love what you do and you will see the positive results at end just like Sam did and he’s definitely proven that,” he concluded.
Alfred Sam can be contacted on mobile: 5418354