March 28, 2019

Vanuatu and China to expand cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, livestock

 
China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Han Changfu, and Vanuatu’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB), Hosea Nevu, have talked about increasing cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

Both said that this initiative will maintain diplomatic relations.

They reviewed cooperation in the key sectors and agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of investment and trade too.

The two ministers held their first ever dialogue recently this week during Minister Han’s visit with his delegation.

Minister Nevu highlighted the status, opportunities and challenges facing the agriculture sector of Vanuatu.

He then made several requests to the Chinese Minister of Agriculture to support Vanuatu’s agriculture sector, which the majority of the population depend on for food, income and employment.

He asked for financial and technical support to boost agricultural and small livestock production.

Minister Nevu requested assistance to explore farming opportunities for tobacco farming and to set up bio-gas systems in Vanuatu.

“We would like to seek funding support for up to 20 scholarships in the field of agriculture to enhance the capacity building of our rural farmers,” he said.

“We seek financial assistance for the renovation of the MALFFB staff houses, construction of a new MALFFB complex, new laboratory and research facilities.

“The biggest challenge faced by our farmers is access to credit. We seek cooperation in the provision of a financial grant to the Vanuatu Agriculture Development Bank to reduce lending interest rates for our farmers.”

Minister Nevu further requested support from the Chinese delegation to help find markets in China for Vanuatu’s value-added products.

Minister Han said they are happy to provide any assistance Vanuatu need.

“I will consider your (Minister Nevu’s) priority needs very seriously,” he said.

“Though there are differences in the nature and scale of our agriculture sectors, one common major challenge we face is ensuring food security- making sure there is adequate nutritious food to feed all.”

It was recommended during the dialogue for a working group to be established at a later time to develop the implementation plan of the concerns outlined by Minister Nevu.

To show that they are committed to enhancing cooperation, the two ministers put pens to paper in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue cooperation in the fisheries sector.

The agreement sets out the framework for future collaboration in certain areas as aquaculture development, fish processing and marketing and ship building, said the Director General of the MALFFB, Moses Amos.

Minister Han indicated that they are also interested in establishing a similar MOU with the agriculture sector for further cooperation.

The Director of Livestock, Lonny Bong, said he is happy that China has shown interest in providing technical assistance to small livestock farmers.

One of Minister Nevu’s request was for China to provide technical support in producing feed meal for ni-Vanuatu small livestock farmers to enhance production.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS
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