Forest and Trees

Forests and trees play significant roles in the lives of Pacific Islanders, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In many Pacific island countries, especially on the smaller islands and atolls, agroforestry and tree crops provide most of the food, medicines, construction materials, firewood, tools and myriad of other products and services that cannot be replaced with imported substitutions. For the larger countries, forests have contributed significantly into their economic development in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment and infrastructure development. Thus, a major challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is to ensure sustainable management of their scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of their growing populations, LRD-SPC is addressing this under its Forest & Tree programme.

SPC Conducts Agroforestry Training in Northern Fiji
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:24

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division conducted two-day training in Tabia, Labasa on agroforestry concepts, plant propagation, nursery management and the establishment of agroforestry farms.

Twenty participants comprising staff and representatives from the departments of agriculture and forestry, NGOs and farmers/tree growers participated in the training.

‘We were glad to see this level of training being made available to us here in the North of Fiji.’ These were the words of Charles McCay, the host farmer.

According to McCay, the participants gained new skills, especially on grafting and marcotting techniques, as well as receiving information about soil erosion control and the need to include trees in an integrated farming system. They also learned the technique of transplanting tissue cultures for the first time.

‘We always believe in an integrated farming system and such training and demonstration helps us understand the full concept of agroforestry much better.’

‘Such training enables us farmers to think strategically and take more interest in farming as an agroforestry system, an excellent model for sustainable farm development.’ McCay said.

SPC began working with McCay in June 2013 to establish a flat and slope land agroforestry farm model to try out different combinations of crops and trees and to also use this to transfer technology on some of the best practices that are being tried out.

The two-day training involved having participants practice contour farming by planting various tree species and agricultural crops together.

Indigenous tree species such as Dakua (Agathis macrophylla) and Vesi (Intsia bijuga) were planted on top of the slope, while trees of economic value, such as sandalwood were planted together with citrus and other fruit trees in the middle of the slope with root crops over the base of the slopes.

Similarly, on flat land, crops such as taro, pigeon pea, okra, cowpea, water melon, eggplant and capsicum were planted.

Climate-ready varieties of sweet potato and bananas produced by SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePACT) were also planted.

The objective of the training was to enhance the knowledge and capacity of farmers to improve food, nutrition and income security, and improve resilience to climate change while conserving the biodiversity of the farming communities.

The agroforestry training was co-funded by United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Global Environment Fund under its small grant project.

(For more information and media queries please contact Vinesh Prasad, (+679 3370733) or SPC’s LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Photo Captions:

Left: Participants practicing marcotting technique during the training.

Right: Tissue cultured Bananas and sweet potatoes in Labasa, growing well, these plants were  transferred from bottles 3 months ago.

 

We acknowledge our major donors/partners in supporting Forestry initiatives in the Pacific