Cyclone Pam is the most powerful cyclone to ever hit the Southern Pacific. On 13th March 2015, it strengthened to a Category 5 storm over the y-shaped chain of islands which make up Vanuatu. Vanuatu took multiple direct hits over the islands of Efate (where the capital Port Vila is situated), Erromango and Tanna Island. 270km/h winds were sustained near Efate and the Shepherd Islands. The storm also brought with it heavy rains and storm surges. Shefa, Malampa and Tafea were the most heavily affected provinces although Pam affected an estimated 207,000 people on 26 islands, destroyed critical infrastructure,displaced thousands and severely affected food security and productive sectors including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry and biosecurity.
The national Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC), led by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) is mandated by the Government of Vanuatu and the National Disaster Management Office to coordinate and oversee all Cyclone Pam relief and recovery efforts in the Food, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity Sectors. The FSAC has a fully staffed Secretariat, supported by FAO and the SPC-GIZ program, which was operational before the cyclone struck. The Cluster membership includes government, non-government, private sector and international partners working collaboratively to both respond to the immediate food security needs of those affected and plan and implement long term recovery, rehabilitation and sustainable development. The activities of the FSAC build on strong collaboration in disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation work prior to Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Simultaneously with the emergency response, the Food Security & Agriculture Cluster has prepared this strategy for the post-humanitarian phase wherein, from 2015-2017, all stakeholders including Government will work together to rebuild the food and agriculture sector, ensuring that both subsistence and commercial farmers are included. This recovery and rehabilitation work has a strong climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction element to ensure that Vanuatu emerges more resilient than before Cyclone Pam.
This strategy sets out the approach of Vanuatu’s National Food Security & Agriculture Cluster which builds on recent and current work in Vanuatu by local farmers, government agencies, civil society and development partners; it emphasises a collaborative approach with links to on-going and to planned future work by a large range of stakeholders.
The overarching goal of this strategy is to have, by 2017, a fully recovered, rehabilitated, well-coordinated and more resilient productive sector than pre Cyclone Pam. This is in direct support of the Vanuatu Agriculture Sector Policy (VASP) goal #10 that food and nutrition security needs of Vanuatu are adequately met by all stakeholders.
Specifically this Strategy seeks to highlight and prioritize activities and programs that
REHABILITATE THE PRODUCTIVE SECTOR, INCLUDING STRENGTHENING LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND MARKETING SYSTEMS.
RECOVER AND IMPROVE FARM INCOMES AND LIVELIHOODS WITH PARTICULAR FOCUS ON GENDER EQUITY AND VULNERABLE GROUPS.
PLAN FOR AND BUILD BACK BETTER WITH LOW CARBON, EQUITABLE, BROAD-BASED SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR.