83 Islands Distillery is proud to announce that the Efate Sugarcane Farmers Association (ESFA) was founded on January 28, 2022, at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB). This new association will help local farmers develop this nascent new industry for Vanuatu. There is an enormous demand for more sugarcane and community cooperation is essential. We hope that this new association, organised by local farmers for local farmers, will help anyone who wants to plant sugarcane to have better access to seedlings or cuttings as well as knowledge to improve their crops.
Sugarcane Farmer Pastor Kapan Kapalu was elected chairman of the association by 10 farmers who are based on Efate. Pastor Kapalu was humble and grateful to take up the role as the chairman of the ESFA and asked for everyone’s cooperation, patience and effort to walk and work together on this adventure. He encourages all the farmers who are interested in planting sugarcane to contact the association so they can be supplied by the existing farmers with sugarcane seeds for replantation.
83 Islands Distillery spearheaded sugarcane plantations at a large scale on Efate in 2020. That year, local sugarcane production was a little bit over 20 tons. This year, the distillery in Stella Mare processed over 150 tons. This production growth is impressive and the result of the tremendous work done by local farmers. This year, 83 Islands Distillery and the MALFFB have partnered and invested 1 million VT to clear an additional 10 hectares of land to plant sugarcane.
For anyone interested, one hectare of land can easily produce 30 tons of sugarcane by hand and we think up to 60 tons if done with the help of tractors and other mechanised machinery. 83 Islands Distillery is purchasing sugarcane at 20,000 VT per ton when mature. Usually, the crushing season ranges from mid-August to mid-December and our staff validate the maturity of the sugarcane before it can be delivered to the distillery.
We expect to be able to process over 400 tons of sugarcane in 2022 and reach 800 to 1000 tons by 2023. To that effect, we are investing an additional 30 million vatu this year, with 4 million vatu from the Industry development fund, to double our production capacity. We are also in the design stage of a sugarcane syrup facility that would enable us to produce rum from sugarcane all year long and not just during the crushing season.
All this will enable us to produce a 100% made in Vanuatu rum and invest in local farmers instead of relying only on importing ingredients.