The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) is committed to invest in mechanisation to assist farmers increase production.
It has been a very huge challenge for the government through MALFFB to commence mechanisation programme in Vanuatu.
In the past, a lot of agencies have assisted not only Vanuatu but other countries around the world in terms of mechanisation, but unfortunately most of the programmes failed.
To convince donor partners and even Vanuatu Government that Vanuatu needs machines (tractors) is not an easy task.
Minister for MALFFB, Matai Seremaiah stated, “I managed to convince the Governments of Australia and New Zealand to provide financial assistance by investing in mechanisation.
“The Australian government has supported MALFFB with four tractors and New Zealand government one tractor.
“The tractors were allocated to Maewo, Tanna, Erromango, Efate and Epi.
“For the first time last year 2018, the Vanuatu government allocated budget to purchase three more tractors,” the minister said.
The tractors were allocated to Gaua, Santo and Malekula.
Minister Seremaiah said, “Now that the MALFFB has managed to allocate tractors to all six provinces the next step will be expanding the mechanisation programme to each area council.”
This was revealed by Minister Seremaiah during the handing over of a new tractor to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on Santo.
“With mechanisation, a farmer can plant more kava and other crops than using human labour.
“DARD will be charging the use of tractor at an amount of VT5,000 per hour.
“This amount is cheaper than hiring a community to work. The tractor will do all the workload and the farmers just need to plant, thus increasing production.”
Minister Seremaiah added that it is important for farmers to be well organised as tractors’ services will be considering a cost-effective way of serving more than one farmer in each area on Santo.
“The government through MALFFB and officers are mandated to assist you farmers and farmers need to work with the government,” the minister said.