Around 60 participants from Santo rural and surrounding Luganville will attend a ten days preservation and Value adding training on local crops starting Monday next week Funded by TVET and World Vision it will be conducted by Kava’s store Charles Long Wah at the Agriculture College with the aim to boost the income earning capacity of rural farmers and improve food security (in off seasons) and processing at the village level.
“My techniques of value adding of natural produce is unique, whether to the most remote village or town with only a saucepan and spoon, now with a solar food dryer,” said Long Wah, after conducting similar workshops for 20 years all over north and south Pacific to hundreds of Pacific islanders. “These ten days training will upscale productivity and pass on lifetime skills of value adding a product in syrup, pastes, flavoring in tamarind, preserved mango, pineapple, pawpaw, nandau, naus, soursop, chutney, chilly and tamarind and candy (coconut).
“Equipped with four solar dryers we will be able to make over 100 semi and value added agricultural crops with no costs and obtain much safe food security with abundant in fruits, spices, indigenous nuts, root crops and bread fruits going to waste each year in the rural areas.
This, he said, will significantly decline in the coming months, in particular aggregated crops such as root crops, nut in shells, low value vegetables, fresh kava, fruits to town, ships and high costs of transportation.
“The Vanuatu market has not change much in the past 60 years, it is based mainly in low value crops with miserable profits, eventually creating more conflicts between farmers having the same agriculture crops generating mass exodus to urban drift and more poverty.
“We must produce the volume of agricultural crops in rural areas before we can talk about export.”
He said tamarind will be the main products to value add for the domestic market, the market will increase to 50,000 packages of 50 grams packets in the next decade. From raw tamarind of Vt50 per kilo to Vt800-2000 value added with a solar food dryer and a shelf life of two years.
Also the participants will be taught how to sterilise jars and put to good use the hundreds of glass jars sitting in the local households which should be utilised and also can be recycled year after year by ordering new jar caps.
Inevitably this all hinges on the availability of agricultural crops in season, presentation to do peeled tomatoes, oil, mango, pineapple, pawpaw in syrup, vegetable pickles, transparent cucumber pickles, dehydrated and processed in a solar food dryer, glass fruits, preserved, mango, pineapple, dry locally produced flour, soursop, coconut candies, , breadfruit biscuits, sweet coconuts, all spices, sweet and salted peanuts, chilly nakafika, dry salted fish, tomatoes, bananas, egg plants, root crops and others in season.
Detailed information on these trainings can be accessed online: University of the South Pacific (USP)-Institute for Research, Extension and Training in Agriculture (IRETA) / Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Regional Workshop on Food Processing and Value Adding in the Pacific, (2005).
This highlights a workshop a workshop he conducted in Honiara, Solomon with numerous recipes and evaluation conducted by the USP team in Alafoa, Samoa. He reminisced that one participant was a Tongan royalty including Pacific head chefs from hotels, direct exporters of biggest fresh products in Fiji.” Next year Mr. Long Wah is eyeing a complete training on nangae nuts in Vanuatu and all Melanesia with a solar food dryer which he firmly believes, has a huge potential when it comes to export.