As a pilot sustainable livelihood project, we established a small community owned vanilla farm to develop strategies for business development and improving value chains that will lead to opportunities for research and development and open up international market access.
Currently we have approximately 500 individual vanilla plants on the farm. The plants are expected to be fruiting by the end of 2017. In the meantime, we would be conducting training programs targeting different aspects of vanilla farming, pollination, harvesting and post harvest processing, storage and other important training needs.
We already have a market target in Melbourne through the social entrepreneur Mekai Vanilla (http://www.mekai.net/) who imports and distributes coffee and vanilla from Bougainville throughout Australia.
We are expecting to have a plantation of 3000 plants at our current site by end of 2018 in order to meet the demand of our international buyers. We are also looking at Partnership for Cocoa Value Chain and Market Access as our future growth strategy.
All agricultural developments will be governed and guided by environmental management guidelines and social safeguards.
A local farmer working at the community vanilla farm