Farmers on Efate Island in Vanuatu have picked up a lot in innovative agriculture using new and improved research-based technologies introduced by this project. Research scientist Martin Lobao, who is also the project’s Livestock Component Leader, says there is growing interest on the use of the technologies by model farmers involved in the project as initial outcomes have shown positive results.
He said farmers observed general improvements on chicken production and spoke highly of the skills and support they are receiving and outcomes they are seeing in terms of increased egg production, chicken numbers and income.
Mr Lobao said this after returning from a field visit to Malafau and Siviri project sites in Efate. His team visited farmers that are not only involved in village chicken and layer activities but also others participating in yam, sweet potato and cassava production.
Vanuatu’s domestic poultry industry for commercial egg and frozen chickens is not large enough to meet the local demand. Therefore most of its poultry-based products are imported, mostly from New Zealand and Australia.
The initiative, among crop and livestock activities, is aimed at enabling local farmers produce their own chicken at village level to meet their protein and income requirements.
The team also visited rain gauges that were set up at the project sites under the soil and water resource component and were now handed over to the Vanuatu Department of Meteorology.
Mr Lobao added that farmers involved in livestock feed development, particularly pig silage, and value addition of staple crops (cassava and sweet potato) were also visited.
“Some notable outcomes of pig silage included improved growth, size and taming behavior of pigs after they were feed silage,” Mr Lobao said.
He said many participating model farmers also organized and conducted their own trainings in their local communities on pig silage and value addition.
During those trainings, some existing model farmers also supplied stocks.