Young farmer, Danny Brandon, in his garden at Gaua island. Photos: DARD

Engaging women living with a disability and children in agriculture is Jefflyne Neneth’s passion. She assists vulnerable groups of people with home gardening to ensure they have healthy diets.

Neneth, a female farmer from Mota Lava, has been raising vegetable seedlings and providing them to women with special needs and young children to encourage them to invest in agriculture since 2009.

The implementation of such activity aligns with the Vanuatu Agriculture Sector Policy 2015- 2030, Thematic Area 13, which stated ‘Gender and Vulnerable Groups, Policy objective 13.1 Mainstreaming gender and support women, youths, and vulnerable groups in all agriculture initiatives.

“This initiative has stimulated a lot of interest and many women with special needs have access to the vegetable seedlings for home gardening and they even sow their own seeds for planting,” farmer Neneth stated.

Farmer Neneth is currently in Gaua, with her husband as the Assistant Agriculture Officer for Gaua. She continues to sow vegetable seeds and trying to encourage women to do home gardening.

“The women are not really into agriculture farming so I commenced working with young school children,” she said.

“The children were able to sow seeds, plant vegetables and they also sale these vegetables to their parents and other members of the community so they can earn income for their daily needs.

“The children were very happy to see how they can generate minimum income into their homes.”

She mentioned this has strengthened their interest as they continue to grow more vegetables.

“Over 22 children on Gaua island are engaged in home gardening growing mainly vegetables that fascinated their mother’s interest to join in planting vegetables,” farmer Neneth added.

“These children grouped together to form ‘Young Farmers’ Cooperative’.

“Every Friday after school, the kids harvested their vegetables, put them together for sale and after selling these vegetables, the money goes directly to their savings.

“The establishment of this cooperative motivated the kids to continue to grow their savings by growing more vegetables as they also inspire their mothers to do home gardening.”