The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) plans to build two market houses in Motalava and Gaua for the people of TORBA Province.
This is part of its 2020 business plan.
Farmers on these islands have potential to grow agricultural crops, raise small livestock and access to abundant marine resources, which is essential to food and nutrition security, said the Director of DARD, Antoine Ravo.
Director Ravo said farmers there had a strong network with the Agriculture Field Assistant, Area Administrator and other community groups such as women and people with disabilities.
They (farmers) have been participating well in agricultural activities and training organised by other stakeholders such as the Vanuatu Skills Partnership to improve skills and promote production, he said.
Apart from establishing market houses, the department is also looking at organizing a Motalava Breadfruit Replanting event to coincide with the Chiefs Day celebration this year.
Breadfruits are abundant in TORBA Province and is produced throughout the year. Director Ravo said they are working with the Vanuatu Agriculture Research Training Center (VARTC) in Santo to identify and introduce varieties of breadfruit suitable for resistance and culture conditions in TORBA.
”Breadfruit is a stable crop in TORBA. People depend on it during disasters.
”We want to support the farmers through the Slow Food program to grow more for the domestic market and slowly we can also export outside the country. We must meet the domestic demand before we can export oversea like Samoa,” he said.
Director Ravo said they are also looking at training farmers to commercialize on crops like wild yam as it is resilient during disasters.
He said they are focusing on increasing the production of citrus fruit and pawpaw to supply the increasing tourism market in TORBA.