High yielding sweet potato at Tanna’s volcanic soils

Tanna island’s volcanic ash continues to give Vanuatu farmers the food they need after the Cyclone Pam destruction in March 2015.

Vanuatu Scientific Officer  Antoine Ravo said despite the devastating effects of the natural disaster, many farmers have recovered through farming in which they are able to get good harvests of sweet potato and other root crops.

Recently Middlebush farmers enjoyed a harvest of high yielding sweet potato through a field day conducted jointly by the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and PNG’s NARI under a EU regional project on climate change adaptation.

Farmers harvested sizeable and good quality tubers through this regional project on climate change adaptation in which agricultural diversification through the introduction of improved crop varieties such as kaukau, cassava, yams and rice was undertaken in the last five years.

Ravo, who is also the country sub-coordinator, said the European Union project has helped the Tanna farmers with improved agricultural technologies and farming practices for improved food security and income.

Support in food processing has enabled some of the root crops developed into value added products which the locals could store for several months and also sell at higher prices to other communities.

Processed foods from Middlebush are packaged, labelled and sold in markets and stores.

During the course of the project activities, more farmers  have shown  interest in  new innovations.

Similar support was provided to two other project sites – Siviri and Malafau in North Efate.

Meanwhile, a rice trial survived the cyclone while all other crops were destroyed.


Middlebush farmers on Tanna Island pose during a sweet potato harvest and field day

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