John Vano

Worker John Vano barely manages to carry melons

John Vano works on John Morrison’s farm at Banana Bay in East Efate.

The workers harvested approximately 400 melons on the farm two days ago, which were transported by lorry to Port Vila for sale.

Daily Post accompanied the Director of Agriculture and his team to visit the farms yesterday.

John Morrison’s farm specialises in melon.

The farm borders Jack Loughman’s farm which specialises in kumala, corn, peanuts and banana.

Shefa Provincial Agriculturalist Willie Iau says Loughman was supplied with kumala vines from the Department’s nursery on the road to the airport at Tagabe.

The amazing beauty is that it takes only three months for the kumala to mature.

Asked how the leaves look so green and healthy of insect attack, Iau explains, “When the kumala started to grow, we visited the farm to identify the small-leaf kumala vines which hindered the growth of the wide-leaf kumala. The small-leaf kumala vines were removed to allow the wide leaves to spread and bear abundant kumala”, Iau explains.

The advantage of the two farmers is that machinery is used to clear the land and people are employed by the duo to plant and care for the farms.

This is a classic example where ni-Vanuatu farmers have broken free from the traditional subsistence mentality of shift cultivation.

“Planting just to feed the family from a small garden is not helpful because during a cyclone the nearby trees are blown down to destroy the garden,” the team explains.

“Clearing a large boundary of land is important because no trees are left standing to damage the farm and the crops are quite safe.”

To prove how lucrative it is to work on a farm, Iau says a vendor from Tanna whose job it is to sell fresh produce at Port Vila Market once said to her son, “Please count all the earnings I have made this week and let me know the total. The boy could not believe his eyes when the total came to Vt500,000!”

The boy stopped going to school and went straight into farming.

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