Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni Vanuatu Business, Hon. Jotham Napat MP has announced the Council Of Ministers (COM) has approved a new policy to support local chicken farmers.

“Since there is the risk that international competitors may slow down or hinder the development of a flourishing poultry sector in Vanuatu, it is the role of the government to step up and protect it until they can attain similar economies of scale,” the deputy prime minister said.

“Developing industries such as the poultry industry in Vanuatu have high potential for success but have not had the economies of scale to compete with counterparts from other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

As such, the COM after public consultation involving retailers and poultry farmers along with input from the ministries of agriculture, finance and foreign affairs has approved a three year support plan for local chicken farmers which includes a tariff increase on imported chicken eggs and a levy to fund further development and investment in local poultry farms.

“The objective of the support plan is to allow Vanuatu made eggs to efficiently and sustainably replace imported eggs, reducing Vanuatu’s imports improving the trade deficit and creating jobs without harming local consumers,” Hon. Napat said.

The consultation period found Vanuatu, having now recovered from the effects of TC Pam, should be in a position to meet the demands of eggs within three years.

For countries outside the MSG, such as New Zealand and Australia, Vanuatu already has an import duty of 30% on chicken eggs; the duty will be increased to 40% over three years.

For MSG countries, such as Fiji, Vanuatu has an import duty of 0% on chicken eggs; the Department of External Trade will now engage with the MSG countries to increase the tariffs on their chicken eggs using the ‘infant industry protection’ clause.

A government levy of 1-3 vatu will be collected and given back to support the local industry. This funding will support farmers through improvements to ensure Vanuatu produced eggs are healthy, disease-free and supply meets demand.

Hon. Napat said the local chicken farmers consulted on the policy welcomed the strategy and said it would make a huge difference to their efforts to increase supply.

“The flow on affects include more employment and improving the trade balance. We should as a government always be supporting local industry first and this policy will help boost our poultry industry, seeing it sustainable within three years.”