Farm door sales bring smiles from Malampa farmers

A joint Government– private sector initiative is a dream come true for farmers in the remote southwest of Malekula, with buyers coming to farm doors to purchase vegetables and other produce.

Gerald Tamau, the Administrator for the South West Malekula Area Council, says the new scheme helps to overcome the challenge of very remote farmers getting their produce to markets.

Mr Tamau says, the initiative has seen private companies purchase around VT300,000 worth of agricultural produce in south west Malekula.

“The Government is encouraging people to focus more on the productive sector but a big challenge for people working in this sector is getting their produce to markets for sale,” Mr Tamau said.

“So, this initiative to buy produce from farm doors is a big relief to the farmers.

“This is not the first time the Government has tried this approach in Malekula.

“In south Malekula produce such as water taro, Fiji taro, wild yam and other vegetables like round cabbage and capsicum were also bought directly from farms.

“The program made farmers’ lives easier especially in remote areas where there are very poor road conditions.”

Mr Tamau said he hoped the Ministry of Trade would continue the initiative.

The joint Government – private sector initiative was trialled in Malekula, Ambrym and Paama as part of a Mini Vanuatu-Made Trade Show during Malampa Day celebrations at Lakatoro in mid-October.

Donald Pelam, the Trade Ministry’s Advance Team Leader says the farm door program is part of the Government’s push to make services more available to communities, particularly in remote areas.

He says the Minister of Trade, James Bule, wants the issue of access to markets addressed to “make life easier for farmers in remote areas who have limited access to markets”.

He says even when remote farmers are able to get their produce to markets they sometimes are unable to sell all of their goods.

Mr Pelam says the partnership between the Government and private export companies such as Vanuatu Basket, Fine Foods Limited, South Sea Shipping and Dynamic Suppliers, has been a breakthrough.

The Trade Ministry says the Government contributed VT3.5 million in subsidises for the Ocean Chief vessel to spend five days taking the companies to remote islands to buy produce.

The companies bought 16 tons of root crops and vegetables from farmers in Malampa; and the Ocean Chief had three containers on board to transport the produce.

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