The FAO says this is in an effort increase the quality and quantity of vanilla produced by Papua New Guinea.
The FAO says Sepik has a uniquely favourable agro-ecological environment for vanilla cultivation. The area also has a longstanding tradition in vanilla production which thousands of rural households depend on to support their well-being.
In order to tap this potential, FAO says that under the European Union-funded project (EU-STREIT PNG) is supporting agribusiness and value chain development, including vanilla, in the Sepik region.
FAO provides inputs, tools and also develop the capacity of the farmers and agri-preneurs to improve existing vanilla acreage, adopt climate-smart practices, and to improve skills in processing, packaging and marketing of vanilla products.
"Vanilla is the lifeline for many rural families, and FAO under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme, takes this initiative to support vanilla farmers and train them to adopt climate-smart practices, so that they can increase production to support their livelihoods from income derived from vanilla," FAO officer Rabi Rasaily said.
The program ultimately aims to source and provide 250,000 healthy vanilla vines to the farmers in the Sepik regions. The most recent part of distribution were 10,000 vanilla cuttings from Karawari LLG of Angoram District, one of the areas identified and selected as disease-free, that were transported down the Sepik River to Mandi Village, Turubu LLG of Wewak District, East Sepik Province.
FAO vanilla specialist Nanda Siri said the vines were treated by FAO-STREIT technical officers in a treatment shed established by the EU-STREIT PNG using "an insect repellent bio-solution developed by the program from basic materials such as ginger and garlic".
The beneficiaries have undergone capacity-building training, the FAO says, including climate-smart agriculture practice as well as being supported with tools and equipment to improve their cultivation, husbandry and processing techniques.
This was the sixth distribution of vanilla vines has totalled 60,000 so far. Farmers who have already received healthy cuttings are from Missim Village in Ambunti-Drekikier District, and Albinama and Amon Villages in Maprik District, all in East Sepik Province.
Some farmers have already begun cultivation of the vine cuttings. "We're happy and looking forward to harvesting healthy beans," said Jude Gamo, one of the leading vanilla farmers in Mandi village.