Climate change is having a wide range of adverse impacts on crops, soil fertility and diversity in the Pacific region and around the world. Traditional Samoan farming practices, such as planting resilient crops and using soil improvement techniques, are providing future solutions to climate change.
Twenty-three farmers in Samoa now have a wealth of new knowledge on how to plant crops to ensure food security and better nurture the soil they depend on to grow food.
This was made possible through the European Union funded Intra-ACP GCCA+, Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change & Resilience Building (PACRES) project. The PACRES project is jointly delivered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and USP (University of Southern Pacific).
A training needs analysis carried out in February 2020, identified the need to enhance food security and the well-being of the communities of Savaii, in Samoa. A three-day training was accordingly held on 21-23 September 2020 at the School of Agriculture and Food Technology, with the view to enhance climate resilient agriculture within eight (8) villages in the Matautu District, and Taga Village of Savaii, through the use of crop-based solutions.
Through the training, participants learnt about the use of climate-resilient crops for sustainable production using intensive cropping systems that will increase yield per unit area of land. Moreover, the training also promoted the enhancing of landscape, and the cultivation of lands around family homes, while providing for long-term fallow – where the land is kept free of crops, except for coconuts.
“We should plant gatae (a leguminous plant of the pea family). When the gatae leaves fall, there are minerals in the leaves that make great compost. The leaves grow, they fall, and it is recycled back into the tree and the soil,” said Sani Liaga, a participant in the training. She along with the other farmers, who are used to grow a variety of different crops like ufi (yams), umala (sweet potatoes) and taro, are now willing to experience with new farming techniques that nurture the soil.