By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS
2 July 2013, Nadi Fiji - Three varieties of climate resilient root-crops have been piloted in two communities in Fiji, thanks to the work carried out by the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) and Fiji’s Agriculture Ministry.
Village communities in Nakelo in Tailevu and Deuba in Serua are successfully planting three varieties of dalo, cassava and kumala, said Api Tuwai, PACC Coordinator in Fiji.
“PACC came in and introduced these crops that are resilient to high water table areas. The PACC project worked closely with the Koronivia Research Station that tested these root crops and PACC distributed them to farmers.
However, we are facing some problems with the distribution of these planting materials because of the demand.
“These two particular areas were chosen because they are flood prone areas and encounter severe rainfall all year round. They are prone to floods and also inundated from saltwater because they are near the coast.
Tuwai said the drainage system in these two locations existed more than 30 years ago at the height of rice farming in Fiji.
“After the rice industry collapsed, these areas were left idle. Most of the current farmers are small scale farmers going into commercial and semi-commercial farming and they are not able to support the maintenance of the drainage system.
“What we found with this project is that most of the drains have clogged water ways with flood gates that were not working therefore .
To fix this problem of clogged drainage, PACC is working on a model of drain that can easily adapt to changes associated with the climate in the coming 30-50 years, said Tuwai.
“From the data collected for Suva and Navua, predictions show that rain will continue to increase for the next 30-50 years. What we need to do is to adapt to these future changes.
“We need to have in place drainage system that can withstand the increase in rainfall. We need community partnership to maintain these drains.
“We need to remodel drain and floodgate to accommodate the increase in sea level and the rainfall intensity that is going to increase in 30-50 years, said Tuwai.
Lessons learnt from the PACC project were shared with regional participants attending the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi this week.