Techniques, such as the making of fish emulsion for healthy, vibrant crops, have been made available in easy ‘how to’ steps for organic farmers in the Pacific Islands in a series of information sheets and videos termed the Farmer to Farmer Resilience Series.
The Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) worked with farmers in Niue, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu to document the practices; they include composting, mulching, fixing nitrogen in the soil, combating droughts and planting pits on atolls. These are some apt solutions for agriculture affected by climate change.
Climate change affects agriculture through changes in average rainfalls and temperatures, climate extremes such as heat-waves, changes in pests and diseases, changes in the nutritional quality of foods and even sea-level rise.
How do organic farming methods help to build resilience? Mulching, for instance, protects the surface of the soil and helps regulate its temperature. Pit planting in the atolls makes even sandy soils a lush bedrock for plants and offers them strength and a reserve of water to withstand the harsh sunlight.
‘Farmers themselves are the reservoir of knowledge that is being shared, having perfected their art and wisdom for adaptation for generations,’ noted POETCom’s Acting Coordinator, Stephen Hazelman.
‘The series, as knowledge management products, addresses the gaps in farmers’ information as they begin to try becoming organic,’ he continued. ‘ Information is empowering and is an enabler in our effort as an organisation to encourage more farmers to take up organic farming because of its resilience potential.’
The series is an outcome of the Capacity Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific Project, supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Youth Leading Learning in Resilient Agriculture Practices Project. This is supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the project Engaging Youth in Fiji and Vanuatu in Organic Farming: A Farm to Table Chain Approach, supported by the UNDP Pacific Office and the Sustainable Development Goal Fund.
POETCom printed 500 copies of each of the more than 20 practices that have been documented. They are being shared at events such as the Pacific Week of Agriculture and with the four countries: Niue, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu.
E-copies are proliferated through social media platforms and are accessible on the POETCom website:
Interested parties have also received emailed copies.