A 20-year-old livestock student from Middle bush on Tanna majoring in Livestock at the Vanuatu Agriculture College on Santo, is the shining star on his cattle drought island who is determined to become a millionaire cattle farmer in a few years’ time.
A year ten drop-out student from Tafea College, the third-year VAC student, Alfred Sam has surprised the Principal of Vanuatu Agriculture College, Joe Timothy, VAC Acting Farmer Manager Sandy Mael and Tannese Livestock and Agricultural Officers on their first ever visit to his farm last week. He has 162 heads of fat cattle grazing on the farm which is tucked away on the Middle Bush plateau.
What places the young livestock student in his own category is that his cattle is not for sale. His family has substantial fertile land which Ministry of Agriculture (MALFB) experts have now advised him to develop into a series of paddocks. They will help him to improve pastoral care to further fatten his cattle.
While water is vital for cattle farming, the cattle has to go down to the bottom of the hill to drink water every day. New improvements will involve bringing water to troughs in the paddocks at the summit.
Once a complete boundary of the entire farm land is completed, the ball can start rolling with expert direction to upgrade his farm to commercial level.
“In fact Alfred Sam is already qualified as a commercial farmer through the number of cattle that he owns, while he is still studying at the college,” Acting Farm Manager Mael says.
He even advises the student against taking any loan to develop his farm saying he has sufficient assets to go without a loan.
“I know some heads will sell for less but my top price is going to be cheaper than what others have been buying at. I am looking at selling at Vt95,000 for each animal when it is time. I am looking at selling five animals per week. Take your calculator and times the amount with the number of weeks per month and the number of months per year and you will have a rough idea of how much money the sales can involve”.
He understands the importance of consistency which is why he wants to delay any sale until he is ready.
Representing his family while taking livestock and pastoral experts to show them his farm last week, the student says when his family learned his was back home on Tanna, they sent word for him to visit them.
“I went to my village and was surprised. Many people from other villages also came to listen to what I had to say. They asked many questions. They were pleased and said they would wait for me. We finished at two o’clock the next morning,” he says.
“They asked me to meet with other members of the family here in Port Vila at Teouma. I am going to encourage them to see the importance of what I am studying to achieve to help my family back home. I will meet them tomorrow (yesterday) before returning to Santo to continue my studies at Vanuatu Agriculture College.”
It is understood two other families want to increase their cattle by 100 heads each with new arrivals of additional breeding heads of cattle from MALFB for small holder farmers next month.
The island has occasional animals but the price for one has soared. “In fact one bull was sold in the recent past for Vt150,000 and another for Vt120,000,” the young farmer reports.
Alfred Sam wants to work to fill in the gap towards meat demand at local market level, and he is confident to be able to achieve his vision.
Meanwhile CEO Joe Timothy has every reason to smile because two first ever former graduates from the College from Tanna are now effective Livestock and Agricultural Officers for TAFEA Provincial Government Council. One former graduate from Malekula, who is employed by Tannese NGO Nasituan, is working with the communities to improve their poultry farms.
The CEO from South Ambae says the intention of his arrival at VAC was to implement the Government’s policy in a course training programme, which produces graduates that balance their training on their shoulders.
“Our vision is to train our students in the classroom as well as in their respective fields of specification to become effective farmers when they graduate,” the CEO confirms.
“We want to enroll students who do both theory and practical on real farms to get their hands dirty and to prove to us that they are serious to become real farmers.
“We are getting reports that one or two so called graduates from overseas institutions do not seem to know the difference between their left and their right hand. All our graduates will leave VAC fully equipped to join the productive sector.”
This is where the 1,050 hectares of land that the VAC has legally secured at Stonehill Village near Fanafo with a first Vt10 million installment by former Minister of Agriculture, Christophe Emelee comes in. “We want to allocate each student a plot and give him time to farm the land while we assess his farming skills. When he sells his produce, we can use his earnings to buy him his first tools, grade him accordingly on his certificate or diploma and wish him all success as he returns to his island, to join his generation of successful farmers to farm the land to contribute towards our food security”, he says.
The CEO has already returned to Santo after leading the powerful delegation to Tanna last week.
Source: Daily Post Article - http://dailypost.vu/news/millionaire-cattle-farmer/article_24c2b5b7-3295-54c0-8dcd-df69ac71a142.html