Farmers and communities in Tuvalu are beginning to see positive results from the agroforestry demonstration sites that have been established through the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) initiative, supported by the European Union.
More than 50 people attended an official closing event on 15th February, 2016 including government ministers and secretaries, the Taiwanese Ambassador to Tuvalu, H.E. Jen-Chung Su, the project team in Tuvalu, farmers, landowners, youth groups and other stakeholders.
Speaking at the close of project ceremony, the Tuvalu Acting Minister of National Resources, Hon. Taukelina Finikaso, described the project as “undoubtedly one of the significant developments and achievements of the Ministry of Natural Resources through its Department of Agriculture.”
“The demonstration sites showed how smarter agricultural practices such as those used in agroforestry farming systems can help us to better prepare for the impacts of climate change and enhance food security,” he said.
Mr Itaia Lausaveve, former Director of Agriculture, explained at the event that agroforestry was not new to Tuvalu, however through the project improved agroforestry practices had resulted in effective use of underutilized land.
“This would provide landowners with a steady source of food and could generate additional income for families.”
“The farmers involved in the GCCA: PSIS project have already taken the initiative to trial climate resilient crops produced by SPC which have been planted alongside more traditional crops,” he said.
GCCA: PSIS Climate Change Adviser, Ms Juliana Ungaro, noted that “even with the first agroforestry demonstration site in Funafuti being finished less than a year ago, already crops such as yams, taro, bananas, breadfruit, figs, pandanus, sweet potato, and coconuts are in abundant supply and some of these have already been sold by the landowners.”
“I think this project has shown the people of Tuvalu that their underutilized land can be developed by planting a large variety of crops and trees, and income can be earned from excess crops. This also helps build resilience for future extreme events such as droughts or cyclones. The challenge now is to promote widespread uptake of the agroforestry system in Tuvalu.”
Zhiyad Khan, [email protected]