The first homegrown vanilla products from Port Patrick, Aneityum were a popular item on the cruise market.
According to the Department of Industry (DoI), the vanilla beans were dried, cured and packaged with labels from Port Patrick and have been confirmed as safe by biosecurity.
Feedback indicated many tourists bought the vanilla products.
“Vanilla farming is the main cash crop for the people of Aneityum, especially Port Patrick. However, in past years there has been very little support for the development of the product to meet the quality and quantity standards of competitive market demand,” the DoI stated.
“In recent times, together with the support of the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP), the Department of Agriculture, and the Area Council of Aneityum, the local farmers have now had the opportunity to be upskilled on vanilla techniques from farming production to end product sale.”
The DoI has played a very important role in supporting the local farmers with the packaging and labelling of the product to meet these high-level market demands.
The products were introduced during the first cruise ship visit to Mystery Island on Friday November 18, 2022. A ceremony was held on Mystery Island by the Aneityum Area Council, the chiefs, the Mystery Island Trust Holding Limited, the DoI, and the VSP to formally introduce the product and hand out samples to the Deputy Captain of the Pacific Adventure, who was on Mystery Island during the event.
A councillor on Aneityum, David Nijae, expressed the pride of the people of Aneityum to reach such a milestone, especially to be able to tap into the cruise ship market.
“Being able to sell our agricultural products on Mystery Island while a cruise ship is here is not only a breakthrough, but it is also strategic, given that the cruise market is always at our door,” said Mr. Nijae.
Initial trials sales on the cruise ship included not only vanilla, but also Aneityum pepper. Over VT16,000 was earned from both products.
A spokesperson for Port Patrick farmers, Lorrie Nakehe, said they are happy with the first sale of their vanilla and pepper products and they look forward to continuing to sell the products on cruise ships, especially in December as more cruise ships are expected to return to the island.
Michael Louze, a Vanuatu vanilla and pepper expert and Vanuatu Skills Partnership industry coach, praised the farmers of Aneityum, particularly from Port Patrick, for their commitment to meet the quality standards required for high demand and international markets.
“I am pleased to say that farmers on Port Patrick have improved a lot to meet vanilla quality standards for any market locally or overseas,” he said.
TAFEA Industry Development Officer, Xavier Nako, said he looks forward to working with all stakeholders to continue to support and improve the quality of vanilla, as well as other commodity crops to meet market demands in Aneityum and TAFEA Province.
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