Lingarak - Lamap Road Report

Executive Summary

One of the most important goals of the Government is to raise the well being of Vanuatu’s people and boosting economic activities to create employment opportunities and income. The Government believes that this goal will be achieved through a number of strategies. First, by achieving a higher sustainable economic growth to create employment opportunities and raise income levels while conserving resources and the environment for the future generation; secondly, by ensuring economic stability, and thirdly by raising the standard of service delivery , through the development of infrastructure ( such as roads, bridges, wharves, telecommunications) to the rural areas and islands throughout Vanuatu.

On that note, the Government, through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, has released a Report on Infrastructure Development Plan for Vanuatu. According to this report, the upgrade of Traffic infrastructure is vital to Vanuatu’s economic development and Poverty Alleviation. The Government has listed about 14 priority infrastructure projects especially the road construction with a total distance of 683 kilometers of roads in its 11 islands.

According to the list of Projects, the Lingarak-Lamap Road Rehabilitation (including the upgrade of South West Bay Airport) with total length of 80 kilometers has been listed as one of the priority project. The Lingarak to Pankumu Section is 24.6km while the Pankumu-Lamap is 52.5km. Total Loan from the Export-Import Bank of China is about 893,644,606.66 CNY which is equivalent to US$131.5 million or 11,706,744,347.25 vatu or 11.71 billion vatu at an average exchange rate of 13.1vatu/1Yuan.

The Agricultural potential along the south eastern coast of Malekula (from Litzlitz, Lingarak to Lamap has been well documented during pre Independence time and over the last 33 years since independence in 1980, particularly, in the production of copra and cocoa.

The most significant copra and cocoa producing areas include Tisman, Banan Bay plantation, Aulua, Lamap, PRV Bushman Bay plantation who produce, on average, around 600 tons of copra and about 650 tons of cocoa per month. These data have been verified and confirmed by VCCE3 and which was also reflected in the recent copra shipment of 2,000 tons between the month of January and March 2014. There are also numerous smallholders (copra and cocoa producers) from the main villages along the coast and inland. One of the significant development and contributor to the increase in smallholder production was the introduction of the NBV4 Microfinance lending scheme.

This has induced a lot of people in the villages to engage into small business activities and the majorities (about 80 percent) are smallholder farmers with more focus on Copra and Cocoa production. Other farmers diversify into the production of cattle, piggery, local poultry, root crops for the local markets, Sandalwood and other agricultural products. There is big potential in the agriculture sector but the only difficulty is lack of proper infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

One of the major problems raised during our visitation is flooding of rivers which also affect children’s access to schools as well as access to main health centers. A number of children have been reported to have been carried away by severe flooding from these rivers and a lot of pregnant mothers could not access to major health centers and hospitals thus results in death.