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Reviving the coffee industry on Tanna Island

Coffee is one of the main sources of livelihood for the people of Tanna Island. Home to one of the Pacific’s few active volcanoes, Yasur, its rich soils, abundant sunshine and rainfall, makes Tanna one of the best places in the Pacific to grow coffee. But the events of 13 March, resulted in the destruction of this delicate plant, as Tropical Cyclone Pam swept across the archipelago. From May to October each year, farmers are usually enjoying their hard earned income after selling either green or dried coffee to coffee producers. Instead, farmers were dealing with the losses from this important plant, as many focused on rebuilding and restoring homes.

As a result, farms were left idle, surrounded by debris and damaged plants. With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Tafea Province and Tanna Coffee, through the Waste Management and Livelihoods Recovery Initiative in Vanuatu, clearing and pruning assistance was provided to the farms badly damaged. To ensure the project reached the farmers in need, all coffee growers in Tanna (and not only those registered by the Tanna Coffee company), had the opportunity to register following an awareness campaign on the Island. Within four months, four mobile teams had supported 714 farmers, a total of 106,394 coffee trees have been pruned and 94.5 hectares of coffee plantations cleared.

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