The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on Tanna has distributed six tonnes of potato seeds to interested farmers on the island on June 2019.

A lot of farmers had shown interest in planting potatoes.

Around 30 farmers have signed an agreement with TAFEA DARD to plant potato. The potato plots were monitored by the Assistant Agriculture Officers (AAO) and reports were provided on the progress of the farm.

A filed trip was organised earlier this month to potato farms for interested farmers to see different farms and how potatoes are planted compared to their farms.

Three female farmers were amongst the male farmers that were part of the field trip. There are many female farmers involved in planting potato seeds.

TAFEA Provincial Agriculture Officer (PAO), Sam Naiu, said the field trip was important for farmers to evaluate the different soil type that is favourable to plant potatoes.

“The field trip was based on situations like clearing of new areas or bush, grass land, very dry land, clay soil and irrigated plot.

“The farmers had the opportunity to also see different methods of tilling the soil like plough with mould board, ripper, rotovator and digging using hands,” said PAO Naiu.

The field trip began in North Tanna, then Middle Bush, West Tanna and ended up at South West Tanna.

A total of 20 farmers participated in the field trip as other potato farmers were engaged in other activities.

A general discussion amongst the farmers took place after the field trip to discuss the issues affecting potato production on Tanna. The idea of reviving the potato farmers’ association was also raised in the discussion.

“The issue of reviving the potato farmers’ association will be discussed further as most potato farmers were not present during the field trip,” Provincial Agriculture Officer for TAFEA province, Naiu, concluded.

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