Two hundred cattle shipped to Erromango for restocking

More than 200 cattle have been shipped to Erromango in Vanuatu’s south, as part of a cattle restocking program on the island.

The Director General for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Livestock and Biosecurity, Moses Amos, says Erromango has a huge land mass compared to other islands in Vanuatu’s south.

He believes the large tracts of land available are good spaces to breed cattle.

Mr Amos believes Vanuatu beef is some of the best meat in the world and hopes the cattle restocking program will inspire farmers on Erromango to get interested and involved in breeding cattle.

The director general says the ministry aims to have 500,000 head of cattle being bred across Vanuatu by 2025.

He says the ministry has imported bull semen from overseas to improve the quality of Vanuatu beef and it will be injected into Vanuatu breeding cattle around the country.

“We plan to have the biggest three islands in Vanuatu [Santo, Efate and Melakula] as the main suppliers of Vanuatu beef in the future,” Mr Amos said.

He says currently many of the biggest cattle farms are located on Efate and Santo islands which is a challenge for other islands wanting to increase their beef production.

One Erromango cattle farmer, Tomker Netvunei, says since the 1880’s, timber and sandalwood production have been very important on his island.

But Mr Netvunei says his island has a proud history of cattle production and he’s optimistic more farmers on Erromango will take up the challenge and shift their focus onto breeding cattle.

“This [cattle restocking program] is an important step by the Government because in the past we sent 600,000 cooked cattle carcasses to England,” he said.

“This was an achievement that went into the history book on agriculture in Vanuatu.”

Steve Boe, a Senior Livestock Officer, says it is important that farmers who join the cattle restocking program are really motivated and have good fencing, feed, water and cattle.

Mr Boe says interested farmers can go to the Department of Livestock and sign a contract to participate in the program.

Vanuatu’s cattle restocking program is also underway on Malekula, Santo and Epi islands and the Department of Livestock will soon be introducing it on Emae and Pentecost and in South Tanna.

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