BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
EAST Central Guadalcanal vanilla farmers whose productions have been crippled in recent years, will benefit from last year’s People’s Republic of China funding to boost vanilla production in their rural setting.
Rural Vanilla farmer and Co-Ordinator, Mathew Aini told Environment Media that 12 years ago, vanilla farmers from Patima Village along the Monga River in East Central Guadalcanal have benefited from a 3 years project funded under AUSAID (Australian Agency for International Development) community sector program, however, the vanilla production was crippled due to lack of established markets and business development opportunities.
“The project was started in 2008 and 2009 under the AUSAID Community Sector Program (CSP).
“Since the conclusion of the program in 2010, many farmers have been discouraged to continue due to no availability or access of marketing avenues to sell their harvests.
“Since the establishment of the AusAID program, there was no visit made by the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to date.
“We liked them to come down to us and see the struggle of farmers and also find how we can link with them. We have many issues, one is money, proper markets venues, or buyers. We also need capacity training for the local farmers. We liked vanilla to become one of the products in our area.
“However, it was the late last year 2021 that the People’s Republic of China stepped in to continue with the program under the constituency development plan.
“We are happy to say that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has revived the East Central Guadalcanal Constituency Vanilla farm after 12 years of isolation,” Matthew said.
The newly granted funding which commenced last year (2021) has allowed for the intervention to boost the production of vanilla and the completion of many innovative programs proposed by vanilla growers of East Central Guadalcanal.
He said the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has funded the construction of a new building (vanilla centre) and has supported some farming tools for the local vanilla farmers.
He said the grown vanilla tree species have kept on growing all over the farmed areas. There are a total of 1,500 vanilla plants currently on the farm to date.
“The farm is about a half hector because the measurement is around 3.3 meters by 2.5 area of land. It would be quite a big production if harvested.
“Sadly, vanilla farmers along the Monga River have not had an income from vanilla farming, since 2010. This funding will help them revive their struggling industry,” says Matthew.
Meanwhile, Matthew said that vanilla can be harvested within three years and it doesn’t require much work, however, the Giant African snail is also another major concern for the farmers as it seems to affect the vanilla plants,” he highlighted. “But what each farmer often do is to manually kill the snails.”