Virgin coconut oil production gets a boost on Ambrym


With Australian Government assistance through TVET and the local virgin coconut oil production company, Bella Trading Vanuatu on Ambrym island is improving both quality and quantity of virgin coconut oil production. The Department of Industry has been training in the use of cold press machines given to communities through Australia’s Direct Assistance Programme. Upskilling is going ahead apace. TVET has been especially supportive of Ambrym women trying hard to improve their management skills.

Agriculture Minister Matai Seremaiah gave his advice on management to cattle farmers at North Efate yesterday. Trailers of cattle being supplied under the restocking programme arrived at Paunagisu yesterday. Some 60 head of cattle to improve the breeding stock along Efate’s north coast were being released to their new owners. The Minister pointed out how restocking costs Vt 30 million per year and cattle farmers have an important role to play in making restocking work. “Tying the bull on a chain to a coconut tree and keeping it apart from the females defeats the whole objective of the Government to increase the national herd to 500,000 by 2025”, he says. An official survey is now to be carried out to assess the program. Director of the Department of Livestock Lonny Bong says the results should be available by the end of 2017.

The bodies of the three seasonal workers who died recently after a head-on collision in Queensland, Australia near Cairns were returned to Vanuatu yesterday. Employment Services of the Labour Department explains that their death certificates took some time to produce, and no accident report of the Queensland Police has yet been published in Vanuatu. One victim is from Efate, one from Ambae and one from Ambrym/Malo. The bodies of the victims are being returned to their respective islands and villages.

Seasonal workers in Australia have been collecting for the Vanuatu Society for People with Disability. Workers have been contributing each pay day and $900 (Vt 72,000) was recently handed over to the Association.

China has made a substantial donation of equipment to Parliament. Included are mobile phones for all MPs. What the media would like to see donated by a friend country is equipment to help improve audio quality of broadcasts of Parliamentary debate for radio. VBTC have kept their promise to their audience to keep the business of the national assembly available to the citizenry except when governments have curtailed shortwave broadcasts for reasons of cost. Technical quality really needs to be assured.

The second edition of tourism publication The Essential Vanuatu has gone to print and will be launched in a fortnight. PM Salwai sees it as an important marketing tool for the country: “It is a great reflection of our nation, our people and out potential,” he says. The Essential Vanuatu is published by Photogenic Limited.