The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vanuatu Agriculture College, Joe Timothy, said the outcome of the visit to Tanna has made him smile most of the time his team was in Lenakel, Provincial Capital of the Southern Province.
Looking back at the last three days that the team spent down there, he says, “What which transpired out of the trip was much more than what I had anticipated.
“Our trip down there was in support of one of our students, Alfred Sam, for his teacher and I to see his farm first hand.
“The objective was for his teacher to assess his farm and see where we can provide technical support to help him improve his farm.
“Furhermore it was for the team to promote an awareness to potential students in the senior schools on Tanna about the new qualification that VAC is rolling out which is Certificate 4 next year, and to encourage them to enrol.
“The entire purpose of such visits is to identify whether or not VAC is fulfilling its primary purpose ornot.
“All along since my appointment to the post of CEO, the question has been on my mind which impact on the decisions that I make and how I implement the plans for tomorrow,” the CEO says.
“Of importance is the priority that the Government is committed to developing the nation’s economy through the agriculture sector.
“Questions have continued to be raised by people across the whole spectrum of society.
“The majority of those opinions has been negative perception of Vanuatu Agriculture College.
“They claim VAC is just a huge white beast and is not worth operating as it does not fulfill its purpose to develop the agriculture sector.
“The most encouraging thing about our trip down there was finding out that the negative claims about VAC are no longer true.
“The claims are baseless.
“I have discovered first hand that our graduates from Tanna are making a significant impact on the ground in agriculture, horticulture and livestock to support the communities in their development activities on Tanna.”
While at Lenakel Market, the CEO was introduced to another VAC graduate from Malekula who is employed by Tannese NGO Nasituaen. He simply loves his job training families in the communities in small livestock.
“The positive reports that reach my ears are said to be happening also in Aniwa, Aneityum and Erromango while similar reports are also coming in from other islands in other Provinces too.
“For these reasons, it is timely to reassure the Government that VAC is no longer a huge white beast.
“It is one institution that is already having a positive impact in the communities.
“The Livestock Officer from Lenakel says our Certificate 3 student, Alfred Sam is already qualified as a commercial farmer, so that is a positive impact.
“With expert advice that he is now getting, it means a pathway is now open for him to continue to develop his farm to make a positive impact towards eventually supplying fresh meat to the butcheries on Tanna.”
Not only that but the CEO has also met two former graduates of VAC who are now effectively involved in helping their communities to develop their livestock and horticultural activities. Brian Dickinson works in the Department of Agriculture while Isaac Iaruel focuses in horticulture.
“They are playing a very significant role towards the livelihood of the people in the communities”, he says.
The CEO concludes that if anyone continues to criticise VAC then they do not know their facts because the facts speak for themselves.
As to the future of VAC, the CEO says it is now positioned to play a very significant role to churn out the first generation of energetic young farmers who are ready to go out to the islands and get their hands dirty to develop agriculture towards a healthy and wealthy Vanuatu.
Source: Vanuatu Daily Post Article - http://dailypost.vu/news/agriculture-college-ceo-speaks/article_7be92447-f0ae-5fd9-839b-02eb477ecc06.html