An awareness session was held by the Port Vila City Council (PVCC), and Price Monitoring and Consumers Affairs (PMCA), which turned out to be more of a recap, shedding light on the ongoing efforts to enhance the city’s infrastructure.

The primary focus was on the implementation of price lists and scales, with notable support from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Agriculture, each contributing to their respective sectors, including Silae Vanua Market Vendor Association.

A noteworthy aspect of the event was the presence of the Environmental Unit under the Directorate of Public Health.

This unit, responsible for health standards and inspection, emphasised various critical aspects such as safe water standards, hygiene, food safety, public health legislation, and waste management.

Among the speakers was a representative invited to discuss the quality standards of food, particularly addressing the surge in Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) cases in Vanuatu.

The Food Control Act, which governs food safety, was highlighted, with specific focus on the regulation of ready-to-eat fruits’ display, waste management, and protection of food from contaminants like flies.

The speaker drew attention to the alarming rise in NCD cases, emphasising that dietary choices play a significant role in this health crisis. In recent years, the cost of fresh and healthy food has been comparatively higher than processed, unhealthy alternatives available in stores.

The implementation of scales aims to promote fair pricing for fresh produce, encouraging consumers to make healthier and more affordable choices.

The initiative is not only about ensuring fair trade but also recognising the important role played by vendors in providing healthy food options in the bustling city life of Port Vila.

The Ministry of Health expressed gratitude to the government and PVCC for introducing the scale system, believing it will empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

As the city strives to create a clean, conducive environment for selling food, this move aligns with broader efforts to combat the rising tide of NCDs, making Port Vila a pioneer in promoting both health and fair trade.