Farmer Harry first recipient of machine under National Subsidy Initiative

Farmer Harry (l) receives his copy of the subsidy contract agreement from DG Moses Amos

A farmer on Efate is the first recipient of the Government’s National Subsidy Initiative.

He is farmer Joe Harry that grows potato atop Rangorango on Efate. Since showing his interest in potato farming back in 2019, farmer Harry purchased a two-wheeled rotavator to expand his potato farm in 2020.

“With the subsidy, I see the opportunity to diversify and introduce other crops, especially Wailu yams to supply the Port Vila market,” says farmer Harry.

Harry became the first beneficiary after the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Forestry Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) issued the first machines and materials under the National Subsidy Initiative, more commonly known as the 70/30 and 60/40 subsidy on Thursday this week.

Since its launching on December 17th 2020, this is the first issue following due process where interested individuals need to compete 5 steps-application process in order to be eligible for the subsidy.

MALFFB DG, Moses Amos said this initiative will stimulate an increase in primary production where farmers are given an opportunity to own a machine, tools or boats and equipment to aide production thus taking primary production to new heights in 2021.

DG Amos says the festive season has affected the subsidy process thus it took over four weeks to apply till the machine is delivered to the farmer today.

However, he adds “Be rest assured that the MALFFB team will need three days to scrutinize all subsidy applications and each applicant will receive their items nor later than a week”.

The six-steps application process requires interested applicants to register with the Vanuatu Primary Producers Authority (VPPA). Once the registration is complete, the applicant’s registration and request for items is submitted to a Department Assessment Committee for vetting. After the vetting process is complete, the approved list is submitted to the Director for each respective Department who then signs a letter of approval allowing the applicant to pay for the item under the subsidy initiative.

The applicant then pays for the discounted 30 or 40 percent to the government cashier, produces their receipt to the MALFFB Project Management Unit to collect their item. The final step is the Monitoring and Evaluation where officers in the respective MALFFB departments will evaluate the use of these machines/tools/equipment in each quarter or twelve-months period.

Prior to receiving each item purchased under the subsidy, applicants are required to sign a contract agreement between MALFFB and the applicant. The contract agreement stipulates conditions under the subsidy program, one of which does not allow applicants to trade items purchased under the subsidy program.

The agreement also spells out the period whereby the Monitoring and Evaluation activity will be conducted.

The handover on Thursday marks the beginning of the roll-out of the subsidy initiative.

According to current data, Departmental Assessment teams are assessing approximately a hundred-plus applications per week.

Application forms for the subsidy can be obtained in any offices for the Departments of Agriculture Livestock Forestry Fishery and Biosecurity across the country.

Any queries regarding the application and its process can be directed to MALFFB Extension officers in the provinces or the main offices in Port Vila.