Master of Arts to improve Vanuatu livelihoods - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

USC News

Master of Arts to improve Vanuatu livelihoods

5 Dec 2017

A Vanuatu Government trade official has taken his USC Master of Arts food security research straight to the decision-makers of the South Pacific island nation.

Jimmy Rantes, 41, who is Vanuatu’s Director of Trade, recently discussed his preliminary findings with Minister of Agriculture Matai Seremaiah at a public and industry event at Southwest Bay on Malekula Island.

Mr Rantes, who conducted fieldwork on the diversity of crops grown in three Vanuatu communities, was pleased to hear the Minister’s speech then outline the implications of the research.

“My fieldwork identified an emphasis on growing kava as a cash crop, rather than growing traditional root crops such as yams and taro,” Mr Rantes said.

“This is resulting in the increased dependence of rural people on eating cheaper, imported rice, bought with cash earned from kava sales.”

USC Professor of Geography Patrick Nunn, who is supervising Mr Rantes’ degree, said the findings were significant for that nation’s future food security.

“It illustrates the importance of rural communities not focusing on cash crops to the exclusion of subsistence crops,” Professor Nunn said.

The issue was also raised at a meeting of agriculture ministers from several Pacific Island countries held in Port Vila in October.

Mr Rantes, who has moved to Parrearra while studying his MA at USC, will return to his government role on completion of his degree next year.

Co-supervisors on Mr Rantes’ degree are USC Professor of Agricultural Ecology Helen Wallace and Southern Cross University’s Dr Cherise Addinsall.

— Julie Schomberg

Related programs

Related articles

Professor Jeanine Young, left, and PhD student Rebecca Shipstone
Disadvantage and adversity behind high sudden infant death rate
17 Feb

Queensland’s first large-scale study of all sudden infant deaths to date has identified key factors contributing to the state’s persistently high annual death rate of babies.

Hot topics: USC list of summer holiday experts
17 Dec 2020

From new microbiological considerations at the family barbecue, to the impact of border closures on the traditional summer road trip, USC Australia has research experts available to comment to the media over the summer 2020/2021 period.

Seaweed scientist named Australian STEM superstar
3 Dec 2020

A USC scientist passionate about restoring seaweed forests and finding solutions to global problems has been named one of Australia’s official Superstars of STEM.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging twalsh@usc.edu.au +61 7 5430 1160
Janelle Kirkland Media Relations Coordinator jkirklan@usc.edu.au +61 7 5459 4553
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) cmckay@usc.edu.au +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for

Recent news