Torba’s reasons to go organic
TORBA Province is often the ‘last and least province’ but it is really taking action for the better and healthier people of tomorrow, says its leader.
Speaking to the Independent this week, Father Luc Dini, Chairman of the Torba Tourism Council (CTTC), also former state secretary and one of the first Ministers for the New Hebrides, said the world today is turning into a place where we go for fast foods but that food is not healthy at all.
“Torba province is located in the northern part of Vanuatu where its always an isolated place and we are thankful for that,” he said.
“I want to thank the past two condominium governments (British and French) and also the Vanuatu government for the slow development of Torba,” he said.
“The Torba people have seen the mistakes and lessons from other provinces which are more developed and that is why we are taking this decision.
“In Vanuatu we have a lot of cases where people are suffering from Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and they had to have their legs and hands cut off because of too much sugar. There are also a lot of tooth decay cases due to eating a lot junk food.”
Father Dini said Torba province lacks many of the government essential services but the province is so rich with natural resources and also many tourist attractions for visitors to see.
Furthermore he encouraged all to look after tourists and visitors well because tourism is everybody’s business.
“If we treat someone well the message will reach another 10 people but if we treat a visitor badly then the bad news will reach more than a lot of people.
“The decision to become an organic province has been passed in the last council meeting and it will take us time but the work has already began, “ he said.
“The work will continue until 2019 - then the government of the Republic of Vanuatu will have to legalise Torba as an organic province in this country. Right now we are talking to the locals in order to make sure that they see what’s happening and be aware of that.”
Father Dini said there are 23 bungalows in Torba catering to visitors and they are advising the operators to use local foods like kumala, manioc, fresh fish and coconut crabs instead of rice, tinned fish and noodles.
“We also have a few small shops in Torba who usually get their cargo down from Santo and we are trying to do some awareness to them and hopefully they will understand because here we depend a lot on local foods.
“Torba has a few cases of tooth decay and people are really scared because there is no dentist here to help and it’s impossible for us to get treatment in a place like this, so it makes children especially aware that junk food is really not good at all.
“Nowadays you see a lot of very beautiful girls but when they smile, their teeth are really bad.”
Meanwhile he said Torba Province had experienced a lot of impact after Pam but received no help from the government.
“We have many projects that need to be carried out and nothing has been done, like cruise ships coming over to Torba and also the building of the tar sealed airport in Mota Lava, promised by a former Prime Minister long ago.
“There wasn’t any donation distributed to us since Pam so we the Torba citizens don’t really depend on the government; we survive on our own initiative every time - not just Pam but other cyclones - and for that very reason we came to recognise that we can stand on our own,” he said.
“Each leader in each province has its own aims and responsibilities to their citizens to which they govern.
“Torba leaders are very concerned for their own people of how they consume foods and the future of the generation to come.”
Father Dini said Torba becoming a legalised organic province will have the advantage of greater life expectancy, ‘with having healthy children with smart minds and healthy bodies so we can reach out and help other people who are in need in other islands and outside as well’.