Vanuatu to host first-ever Pacific Week of Agriculture next month

The Pacific Week of Agriculture will take place between 16–20 October and is expected to bring 200 delegates to Port Vila. Ministers and senior officials from agriculture departments around the region will attend this premiere event organized by the Pacific Community (SPC). The Deputy Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ms Maria Samedo, will attend as will representatives of the 26 members of the Pacific Community. Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States will send representatives. The National Convention Centre is the venue, even though its gardens remain an eyesore.

Identity cards will be needed to purchase kava and alcohol soon. The Internal Affairs Minister is to introduce ID card legislation in the November Parliament sitting. The aim is to avoid excessive consumption by young drinkers and to forbid the purchase by under age youth of alcohol, kava and cigarettes. There will be clarification of the provisions in the Personal ID cards legislation as it is introduced in Parliament.

The importation of used Korean buses will cease soon. Such vehicles were allowed soon after Independence to give local would-be bus owners the chance to begin a business. Repairs to these vehicles have proved more difficult and costly after long spells working on bad roads, and many sit rusting in people’s yards. Minister Maoh, speaking to the press, said a new CEO for a unit dealing with Land Transport has been appointed.

The Office of the Maritime Regulator has been established. Minister Jothan Napat said it had been a long road since 2013 when reform planning began. He expressed gratitude to the Asian Development Bank and to the New Zealand Government who supported Vanuatu’s bid to improve maritime safety and regulation. Minister Napat said “the Vanuatu Government does not want to repeat past mistakes which led to the Vanuatu Maritime Authority being repealed in 2007 due to political interference.”