Collectively battling adversity in Vanuatu

Vanuatu Success Story Image (2020) - JPEG(Picture caption: Tanna Coffee, Vanuatu Craft and South Pacific Botanicals have joined forces to begin production of a basic range of World Health Organization (WHO) recommended hand-wash sanitisers.) 

The global crisis due to COVID-19 has a significant impact on small countries like Vanuatu.

With approximately 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) coming from the tourism sector, the Pacific Island nation has been dramatically affected by the closure of international borders.

In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, the north of Vanuatu was affected by category five Tropical Cyclone Harold in March, weakening the country even more.

While Vanuatu has no active cases of COVID-19 to date, its people have been confronted with a complete lack of suitable sanitisation products in the country.

The need to implement better hand-washing practices and improved basic hygiene for communities has become clear particularly as the Government requires hand sanitising at specific locations.

In this exceptional context, a joint venture between Tanna Coffee, Vanuatu Craft and South Pacific Botanicals has been quickly undertaken, in order to begin production of a basic range of locally made and affordable alcohol-based World Health Organization (WHO) recommended hand-wash sanitisers.

This partnership provides a solution to this challenging situation for the participating organisations.

Vanuatu Craft Association Manager Nathalie Lamoureux says Vanuatu Craft is part of Vanuatu Brewing Ltd and this management plan will help it to maintain its staff.

“Every day is challenging as we have no idea how long this situation will last,” she says.

“In our misfortune, we have the advantage of being a distillery with the ability to produce alcohol, thus helping in the production of hydroalcoholic solution in order to compensate for the current disruption.”

Tanna Coffee Managing Director Terry Arlington says even though the prime reason for implementing this diverse activity came out of necessity, there is an up-shot.

“This is being able to provide a locally manufactured and affordable product that fulfils an essential service to the greater community, while also providing continual employment for many of our staff in the medium to long-term,” Terry says.

“Without this novel solution, many staff members would unfortunately become unemployed.”

Jim and Lesley Batty from South Pacific Botanicals declare the company’s sales of its products immediately slowed to a trickle when borders closed, but the company has not had to reduce its staff yet.

South Pacific Botanicals and its joint venture partners recently received results from a test conducted by the Department of Health on their product and various other hand sanitisers, Lesley says.


The Department of Health report states from those submitted by The Summit, all the samples shows excellent result with very good activity against all the three organisms tested namely Staphylococcus aureusEscherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  

“And in fact, of all the products tested by various manufacturers, ours came out with by far the highest rating for efficacy,” Lesley adds.

Throughout April, 2,500 small (60ml and 150ml) pump-pack bottles have been sold to the various businesses still open and operating, government ministries and departments, banks, cafes, retailers, and private individuals.

Hospital, medical centres, and utilities services have also been supported with free hand sanitiser solution supply.

Nathalie wisely advises that in adversity, we need to stay united.

“Your team is your strength, rethink your human resource’s management but do not let them down as they will help you get back on your feet.

“It is not easy, but keep in mind that this situation is only temporary. There is no defeat, only victory counts.”

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand is an advocate for these three organisations, helping them in the past to operate to their full potential – PTI NZ is hugely supportive of this endeavour.

Contact PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Aude-Emmanuelle Douyere at for more information, or if you are looking for hand sanitiser. 

We can help you find hand sanitiser solutions according to WHO recommendations.

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