Tropical Plantations receives PM Loughman's delegation
The Honourable Prime Minister of Vanuatu Hon Bob Loughman Weibur made a call in August of 2020 “to explore ways to grow Vanuatu’s economy by using our Land and Water resources.”
On Monday 15th February the Prime Minister and his entourage were treated to the reality of one such undertaking on Santo, a Passionfruit farm owned by Tropical Plantations Ltd (TPL).
Incidentally not many people have seen a Passionfruit operation of this scale ever in Vanuatu. As Mr Robert Osborne clearly explained to the Prime Minister, with over 40,000 plants overladen with fruits ready to harvest, the current farm holds 10% of the total production of Australia. Maturing fruits and the flowers are appearing more aggressively in response to the prevailing weather conditions.
Following the PM’s visit, the Hon Minister of Trade Hon James Bule and his delegation also paid a visit on Thursday 18th February to TPL. He was extremely impressed with this huge investment.
Earlier, on Sunday 7th February the Ministry of Agriculture represented by the First Political Advisor, the DG and all the Directors under MALFFB visited TPL to see first-hand the operations and where line departments could intervene to assist the farm diversification programs that will address preparations for new and emerging markets to boost Vanuatu’s Agriculture economy.
The presence of the PM and his delegation on Monday 15th February and the Hon Minister responsible for Foreign Investments added more impetus to the preparations leading to a possible export of the first fruit off TPL towards end of March 2021.
Mr Osborne also delineated to the Prime Minister and his delegation the preparation work underway to cater for the export of Sliced bananas, Pineapples and Passionfruit and how Vanuatu’s farming community stands to benefit from the export market this venture will open up.
The Prime Minister also responded by stating he would also like to be part of the Banana Supply chain to the factory in Santo. Honourable MP Joshua Pikioune who was present during the PM’s visit also made it his duty to help his electorate venture into production of raw materials to supply TPL as everyone was made aware that Vanuatu has succumbed to the burdens of servicing markets we adopted from our colonial Masters like copra.
Vanuatu is forty years into its development with a recent change of status to a developing country, we must seize the opportunity to develop New Markets for products where we can establish our brand and the edge to penetrate high end market.