Department of Industry signs MOU with Farmer’s Market to address local business challenges
By Jason Abel
The Department of Industry (DOI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vanuatu Farmer’s Market (VFM) and vendors on Saturday to assist local businesses that were seriously affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The signing took place at the Haos blong Handikraft market near the Port Vila Seafront
VFM is a local businesses initiative created by ACTIV Association who teamed up with some local businesses (Switi/ La Ferme de Tagabé, Vanuatu Beverage Limited, Lapita Café and Coco Clean), in response to the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on the Tourism industry and with the lockdown of the nation end of March 2020.
The pandemic situation put a lot of pressure on the local businesses and artisans and caused loss of more than 12,000 jobs since April 2020, according officials. VFM has now more than 15 members with local businesses and associations and keeps growing.
VFM was created to assist the producers, farmers, artisans and local chefs who were seriously affected to generate an income targeting the local market for their products. The VFM has created an online platform (www.vanuatufarmersmarket.com) to promote the VFM members for the local community. In addition, the VFM has also initiated street market sales on Saturdays.
These street markets are jointly organized in collaboration with the DOI in promoting the Vanuatu Made brand on Saturday 6th June 2020 and Saturday 20th June 2020.
According to a statement, the aim of this is MOU is to achieve the four following outputs;
- Identify the producer/farmers, artisans and local chefs that could benefit from the VFM online platform and the promotional street market events;
- Increase the sales of the local market through VFM;
- Promote the local Vanuatu made campaign through VFM member and events and
- Encourage the local people to invest in agriculture and agro-processing with value addition of the local resources and increases their resilience to natural hazards and pandemic with also food security.
The first management committee was formed with one representative from the DOI, ACTIV Association and the Vanuatu Bucket List with at least three representatives from the private sector represented by the founders of VFM such as Switi/ La Ferme de Tagabé, Vanuatu Beverage Vanuatu, Lapita Café and Coco Clean. The team will meet regularly to define the main activities of VFM in line with the aims of the MOU.
Under the MOU, the ACTIV Association will register the producers, farmers, artisans and local chefs with VFM following the membership charter; manage the online VFM platform and co-organised the VFM street markets; and compile the data of the sales online and at the street market.
The DOI will, through its network on the islands, disseminate information and facilitate contact with producers/ farmers so that they can participate in the VFM online platform street markets, seeks to promote and assist for the marketing of the Vanuatu Made through VFM and the street markets, and also to facilitate funding opportunities to jointly implement the Vanuatu Made and VFM in Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu Bucket list will be committed to facilitate the works specified above as well as develop the marketing support for the VFM initiative and the street markets; and adding new member and doing the maintenance of the online platform.
DOI Director Jimmy Rantes, expressed the achievement on the milestone activity for future collaborations with Vanuatu’s producers and farmers.
“I look forward to working together to implement the MOU and getting more producers to engaged in this marketing platform activity for promoting Vanuatu-Made products,” said Mr Rantes.
The DOI is a government agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce & Ni-Vanuatu Business and is mandated to promote, facilitate, and support the growth of sustainable and value-added industry in Vanuatu.