Maiak Rural Investment Agency (MRIA)
Beverlyhills Estate, Port Vila
PO Box 330
We at MRIA and POWERMIND are grateful to your Organization for according us the opportunity to offer trained and groomed workers for Seasonal Employment in Australia.
Incidentally our on-site endurance training programs began in 2017 until 2019 where potential workers are brought to a large commercial farm in Santo or the Department of Agriculture Farm in Port Vila to perform set tasks under simulated outdoor conditions for ten days. Many of the trained workers were recruited by other Agents for seasonal work but we did not stop reaching out to find employers since then. In 2018 a three man team of representatives from MRIA and POWERMIND visited farms around Glass house Mountains North of Brisbane but our efforts did not eventuate when farmers realize the volume of paper they had to satisfy to qualify for seasonal employment under SWP.
The Agricultural sector is extremely important to Vanuatu employing almost 65% of our population. This compares to approximately 3% of the Australian population engaged in Agriculture. Additionally the tourism industry has continued to play a crucial role in the overall economy but the benefits from tourism have yet to trickle down to the rural communities.
The Seasonal Workers Program is a very important program for Vanuatu as it has facilitated a very important exchange of skills and knowledge for the workers in the program to the great benefit of Vanuatu. The workers, who have been exposed to modern agricultural methods utilized in Australia, come home and invest their newly obtained knowledge and skills in the Agricultural sector in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is known in the region to produce some of the best workers in Seasonal Work programs in both New Zealand and Australia with most of the workers coming out of rural communities across the Vanuatu Archipelago. There is tremendous scope for expansion of our Agriculture industry, however we need investment in infrastructure and human resources to achieve this. Although the land area is small compared to the Australian mass, the quality of organic food produced in Vanuatu is adequately positioned to compensate our loss in quantity for quality that is not found anywhere else in the region.
Apparently Vanuatu as a developing country will continue to face some drawback in the supply of vegetables and meat products to meet its tourism demands and therefore a break in this vicious cycle of demand outstripping supply could only be facilitated through the exposure of Ni-Vanuatu workers into active and vibrant agricultural economies like that of Australia.
As I mentioned earlier our tourism industry is in stiff competition with some of the best destinations in the South Pacific but we know our organic environment will continue to be the strength to leverage our Agriculture and tourism into the future. Further reinforcement through skills acquisition and accumulation of capital for investment by locals would be among a myriad of other inputs, the key to sustaining Vanuatu’s agricultural economy to support tourism development.
Whilst we have many highly skilled workers in the productive Sector Industry, we see the seasonal workers program as an opportunity to further enhance the knowledge and skills of our workers in the Agriculture industry. Your intervention in one way or another in this undertaking is sure to impact the other Sectors of the Productive sector in Vanuatu in a significant way as skills learnt in Australia through your Company and others could be invested through the human resource in Vanuatu.
The experience and skills learnt will be the hallmark of quality that will help to facilitate the production and future trade of Organic produce to our potential overseas markets. Likewise, improvement in the production and supply of Agriculture produce to the local tourist establishments could realize abundant spin-offs that could trickle right down to the rural communities.
The National Sustainable development Plan 2016-2030 states unequivocally that the Government will ensure as its social obligation “An inclusive, equitable and quality education system with lifelong learning for all” by 2030 while, at the same time promoting “A strong rural economy that creates opportunities, enables the development of rural communities and increasingly contributes to the National Prosperity.”
It is imperative therefore that we consider the elements of national growth and development enshrined in the People’s Plan (2030) in light of assistance to be sourced through direct participation of local workers in the Australian work environment. Arguably the preferred option would be the Seasonal Work program that embraces both the transfer of skills, exposure to more advanced work culture and generation of capital for investment into rural communities once the workers return and reintegrate into their communities.
We hope through your kind assistance we could be part of your reliable supply of seasonal workers whom upon return will provide invaluable knowledge and experience to help expand our Agriculture & Productive Sector industries in Vanuatu. My office would also like to extend an open invitation to visit our Country should you be able to find an opening in your busy schedules to consider coming to Vanuatu for a visit.