An average of 20 tons of potatoes will be shipped to Port Vila from Tanna, after the harvest that is taking place this week.
The Minister of Agriculture, Matai Seremaiah and his delegation stayed on Tanna for two days to undertake harvests of potato and carrot on six of 12 leading farms on the island.
“This is the trial period,” said Minister Seremaiah. “We will harvest the potatoes, grade and weigh them to find the total amount each farmers have made from their bags of potato seed that they were given during the planting period . From there we will determine the price to sell per kilo.
“We want to test potential markets that will keep the farmers working on potatoes to ensure the quality, consistency and sustainability of potato production on the island and to break through the domestic market where we plant, we produce and buy our own organic products.”
Mr Seremaiah has assured the farmers that the first expected batch of 20 tons of potato, including a said amount of carrot will be given free shipment to Vila on MV Mahalia 2 on Monday next week.
“As my contribution towards this government initiative, i am offering the farmers free shipment for their bags of potatoes and carrots,” he said.
“Today (Thursday), the Cooperative Department is buying the 20 tons of potato at Vt120 per kilo and the farmers are happy because they will be collecting their cheques, according to how much they produce from their potato farms at the Agriculture Station.”
The six leading potato farmers have expressed their gratitude for the generous support of the Minister responsible and a few of them have already cleared land for the next cultivation of potatoes.