Vanuatu Daily Post, By Anita Roberts
It has been brought to the attention of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) that arabic coffee can be grown at Lagatava in north Pentecost, just like on Tanna and Epi.
The Department is providing assistance to increase the potential of growing coffee there as an alternative crop to generate income for locals to meet their basic needs, apart from kava.
It has supplied a pulper to coffee farmers in north Pentecost last week. Farmers will use the pupler for coffee pulping process, through a Small Grant Project soon to be implemented.
DARD also promised to send an Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO) to work with farmers there and give technical support.
The most populated area on Pentecost is in the north.
There is a high demand of resources in the area, with the space to do farming literally running out as more locals look to the Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme for survival, said the spokesperson of coffee farmers from North Pentecost in Port Vila, William Ganileo.
“Locals on Pentecost started growing coffee in 2008 as another option from kava to boost livelihood. Seedlings are supplied from Lowanatom on Tanna.
“The beans got dried and wasted on trees. This is because they (locals) lack knowledge on how to harvest and process the beans,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture has been promoting coffee production on Tanna and Epi, recently extending to Erromango and Santo.
Pentecost is known for supplying the bulk of kava and taro in the country.
With the assistance from DARD, farmers at Lagatava are now planning to expand their production.