Director of Agriculture and Rural Development, Antoine Ravo read the above theme of World Food Day Celebrations at Lakatoro on Malekula yesterday, in his address to open the celebrations for all farmers throughout the country on behalf of the Minister.
Both the heading and subheading speak for themselves and send a clear message to all farmers of MALAMPA Province as well as all other Provinces.
The Director says the celebration at Lakatoro is proof that Vanuatu has joined the rest of the world to observe the day on October 16.
However this year the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity has hosted the celebrations to allow the farmers to catch two birds with one stone by celebrating World Food Day with MALAMPA’s 24th Anniversary.
“In line with today’s theme ‘our actions are our future’ is a day for us to look back into the past and accept that food is a basic human right”, Director Ravo explains.
“Zero hunger by 2030 means the Government and people must join hands to work hard to make sure that everyone, everywhere, must have access to safe, healthy and nutritious food which we need for a healthy nation.
“To achieve zero hunger by 2030, we must adopt a sustainable lifestyle, work together and share knowledge and we must be willing to help the Government and Province through their policies, strategies and all provincial plans and actively participate to enable the changing of practices of farming, improve skills of farming, adopt new technology to increase production of all food stocks towards a better food security future of Vanuatu.
“Today according to the latest FAO 2018 report, over 820 million people around the world are suffering from hunger.
“Extreme weather conditions linking climate change and natural disasters are threatening the planet thus affecting the productive sector especially in agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries and biosecurity – the sector which challenges our food security as over 70% of the national population in the rural areas of the country.
“This explains the many reforms with regard to Government policies to create opportunities to allow greater Public Private Partnership (PPP) investment in agriculture, to boost social protection programmes in our vulnerable communities to link with food producers associations with urban areas.
“Small holder farmers need to adopt new sustainable agricultural methods of increasing productivity and income (from crops which we have strength and comparative advantage in and those crops which are economically viable in the context of Vanuatu e.g in MALAMPA Province it is coconut, root crops, cocoa and kava.
“To ensure resilience rural communities need mechanization to create a stable and rewarding employment opportunities in particular in productive sector.
“Before I conclude, allow me to highlight some of the Government’s initiatives through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity which implements them in the provinces”.
• Introduction of tractors in the islands to increase crop production and I am happy to announce that next year in 2019, the Government is committed through MALFFB to place one tractor on Malekula to help farmers’ associations to increase production.
• Kava replanting programme which many farmers today refer to as ‘green gold’ – Malampa is a productive province which also contributes to the supply to both domestic and export markets and contribute big time to GDP.
• Potato, onion, and carrot planting also address high import values which Vanuatu spends millions of vatu on while we can plant them all locally.
• Chocolate making in our main production areas; — Malampa is the first province to win Gold in the world for producing the best organic chocolate.
• National Cattle Restocking Programme with small livestock development programme by 2025 to reach 500,000 cattle.
• Small livestock feed development through livestock breeding centres to improve protein diets in the communities.
• National Agriculture Festival which will take place on Tanna in Tafea Province in 2020. So you farmers be prepared as the last National Agriculture Festival in Luganville proved a shortage of agricultural produce. I am appealing to every farmer to plan ahead and prepare to go down to Tanna in 2020 with sufficient produce such as yam, kava, cocoa and so forth.
• Slow food initiative purposely to address health and NCD.
• One million trees initiative – plant more trees which contribute to mitigate climate change in the future.
• Fisheries programmes – increasing protein source in the communities.
• Coconut replanting programme to increase high value added products including Coconut Virgin Oil and other products initiated with help from MALFFB in partnership with Ministry of Trade and Tourism.
The Director says MALFFB will proceed to enforce its Agriculture Act which has just been passed by Parliament.
• Agriculture Act – Protect activity to promote and provide commercialization support to small and medium scale farmers.
• Livestock Management Act – Increased production capacity of livestock industry.
• Primary Producer Authority Act – purpose to establish farmers’ associations to sustainability lined directive to Government support and to domestic and export market.
“I wish to acknowledge our development partners for providing financial support and aid in-kind towards this year’s Word Food Day including FAO and other partners not mentioned today.
“Finally on behalf of the Minister, may I take this honour to announce that World Food Day Celebration 2018 is officially open and I wish us all a successful World Food Day Celebration and God Bless.”