Farmers in Vanuatu have a new tool – an online agricultural policy bank that provides easy access to summaries of key policy documents in English, French and Bislama.

Launched in September 2015, the digital library ensures national stakeholders can have an overview of the country’s Agriculture Sector Policy for 2015–30.

The policy bank is a collaborative effort between Vanuatu’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, and the European Union’s Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP), implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).

PAPP developed the policy bank, which is hosted on SPC’s Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network portal.

‘Agricultural policies are key to setting priorities and plans for the sector, and farmers and stakeholders need to be able to access these documents and know what’s contained in them’, SPC Adviser and Team Leader for PAPP, Vili Caniogo, said.

‘This new policy bank is helping farmers and other key stakeholders to engage in policy development and share this onus of addressing, whether locally, nationally or regionally, the challenges and opportunities of this important sector’, Mr Caniogo said.

The policy bank is a first for Vanuatu and the region. Solomon Islands and Tonga have now also opened policy banks, with technical support from SPC.

The online facility is supported with outreach to farmers via rural radio, television and print media, to reach those without reliable Internet. The online platform is an easy one-stop access point to key agricultural policies, strategies, planning and corporate documents, as well as legislation.

‘Previously it used to be very difficult to get access to our key policy documents’, Principal Agriculture Officer, Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mark Vurobaravu, said. ‘Our planning office, private sector, NGOs, donor community and investors, spend a great deal of time and effort to consult people and having meetings to deliberate on important documents of the sector. But now it is easy to access these documents by going to our online bank portal. It saves time, money and effort on our part’, he said.

Mr Vurobaravu said there are more plans underway to raise awareness among stakeholders, especially farmers and youth, who are now embracing the opportunities that ICT is bringing to the agriculture sector.

Translated copies and summaries of key documents will be published online for improved access and reference.

Highlights:

  • Vanuatu farmers can access agricultural policy documents through an online policy bank, created with support from SPC
  • Policy summaries are available in English, French and Bislama
  • A first for the region, more planned for other countries

Useful link:

SPC Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet)