VCAP Tafea Province Area Profile
Tafea is the most southerly province in Vanuatu, consisting of 5 islands, some of which are among the most isolated in Vanuatu. Each island in the province has a diverse array of geographic features and natural resources.
The province has an estimated population of 32,540 people and an area of 1,628 km². The most populated island is Tanna, although its land mass is smaller than that of Erromango.
Tanna contains over 80 percent of the Tafea’s population. The provincial capital Isangel is located here along with Tafea’s only municipality and its most developed commercial centre,
Lenakel. An active volcano called Mt. Yassur attracts a large quantity of tourists to the island. A majority of the soil quality on Tanna is regarded as very rich and prime for agricultural activity.
The three largest islands in Tafea Province are Melanesian, but the smaller two, Aniwa and Futuna, have a distinct Polynesian influence due to early settlers and missionaries from Samoa. Futuna is
rich in marine resources, although its rugged terrain composed of sheer cliffs and steep hillsides along with its strong coastal seas provide many challenges to locals.
Aniwa Island is the only coral island in Tafea, while the other four islands are volcanic and reach much higher elevations. Of the outer islands, it has the closest access to Tanna island and provincial services. Water security is a major concern on the island, although Aniwa is rich in its coastal fisheries, orange plantations and has many sandalwood trees.
Aneityum is the southernmost populated island of Vanuatu. It has a vibrant tourism industry and receives regular visits from large Carnival Cruise line ships among other operators. It has the second largest coral reef system in Vanuatu and is rich in coastal resources as well as having a substantial pine plantation and large quantity of sandwood trees. Erromango is the largest island in the province and is renowned for its forest resources, including an abundance of wild game, numerous sandalwood trees and hardwood forests. It is the largest island in the province by far but it is sparsely populated considering its land area, though it is the second highest populated island in Tafea.
Increased pressure on resources resulting in water & food security concerns combined with a lack of access to services has resulted in a substantial migration away from some islands