The Vanuatu Cooperative Business Network (VCBN) will be assisting farmers today (Monday) to sell their pineapples at Vt130 per kilo.
This is part of VCBN’s assistance for 42 farmers at Teouma that are involved in pineapple production.
VCBN will not only support farmers to sell the raw product but it will also find avenues to transform the raw products into other products such as pineapple jam or chutney.
General Manager, Jack Loughman, says the focus for VCBN at this stage is a focus on the domestic market to see the strengths or what needs to be addressed.
This way a report can be made to the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade about issues that need to be addressed.
This is not the first time for VCBN to be involved with farmers as recently it was involved with onion farmers from Epi.
Mr Loughman told Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 Buzz FM that the cooperative networking is being revisited as part of the rebranding of the business movement in Vanuatu.
“What we are looking into now is just to implement what the government has decided through the national cooperative policy that was launched before last year for the re-establishment of the Vanuatu Cooperative Federation through the Vanuatu Cooperative Business Network,” Loughman said.
Mr Loughman says the Vanuatu Cooperative Business Network does not work in isolation as it works with stakeholders such as the Agriculture Department.
At this stage there has been a positive indication from Solomon Islands to import onions from Vanuatu.
However, Loughman said the local market has to be satisfied first.
“We are yet to address the domestic market.
“We can’t meet the domestic market with the current supply of onions.
“I am aware that a major retail outlet needs tonnes of onion a month and Vanuatu can’t meet that.
“There are potentials for export. Solomon Islands has already indicated for us to export Vanuatu onion.
“But again, we need to focus on a proper strategy on how to address the quality and quantity.
“When we mention quality we need to meet market quality standard.
“Everything that is to be displayed on the self has to meet mandatory food quality and market requirement.
“This is something we need to teach our farmers what is required,” he said.
He said currently there are 15 farmers on Epi that will focus on onion farming and the focus will be on these farmers in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture.