Session 2 training complete for the Matuku Island Organic Farming Project in Fiji with big plans ahead in 2017!
Suva, Fiji: Matuku Island in Fiji has started 2017 with strong momentum after the second training session for the Matuku Island Organic Farming Project that commenced in August 2016. The island’s communities are now establishing organic cooperatives within the villages to prepare for the sustainable income activities that will result from the 13-month training program. Organic products for 2017 will include: organic virgin coconut oil, organic flours, spices, and soaps from local ingredients.
Thank you again to the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Environment Office in Suva, the Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) and the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT)!
Session 2 Overview:
The 2nd on-island training session ran from the 2nd-17th of January across the seven villages of the island. The session focussed on providing the communities with a better understanding of soil health and maintenance, and building production capacity of saleable organic products.
10 training sessions were delivered across the island with a new organic nursery built for the community of Levukaidaku. The Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) provided communities with new open-pollinated seeds for the production of corn, tomatoes, eggplants and chillies for value-added processing later in the year. Communities were also trained on the milling of organic flours from local root crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes. Women’s groups also received training to produce soap from virgin coconut oil, coconut milk and local ingredients such as Kura water and Cagalaia. 2 of the 7 villages have now established their organic cooperatives to assist with upcoming business activities with the remaining villages soon to follow.
Soil health workshops:
The results from the soil samples received from Session 1 training highlighted nutrient imbalances within the soils across the island. The soil health workshops aimed to begin addressing these imbalances by providing farmers with a better understanding of their soils and the life within it. Farmers also gained a new ability to produce their own composts and weed teas using the islands’ readily available materials. The workshops encouraged farmers to plan their farms in a way that would maximise the natural functions of the environment and use them to their advantage.
Organic processing workshops:
Processing workshops were held across the island to provide village communities with the ability to produce value-added organic products to boost income and food security with less reliance on purchasing store goods.
Village communities learnt how to mill organic flours from local root crops such as tapi (cassava) and kumala (sweet potato), as well as the production of soap from virgin coconut oil, coconut milk and other local ingredients such as Kura water and Cagalia.
Organic cooperatives are being formed and finalised for each village to structure the income generating activities that will commence this year.
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