PIRF wants all Fijian villages to have profitable fruit and nut orchards and value trees earning income from carbon credits and produce.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Connection - PIRF has worked in Ba (Fiji) since 2015 on projects (EU Funded Fiji Ridge to Reef Project), on R 2 R we undertook research and writing the Participatory Reforestation Plan working closely with remote rural villages in the Ba highlands Catchment.
Importance - R 2 R did not have adaquate funding to execute the program or plans. PIRF was and has a high profile in the area and we would like to deliver positive outcomes for these remote communities.
Why we selected this area - we have a strong history and bond with the communities, their head men/ chiefs and the wider communities.
Specifically we have connections to Bukuya, Navala, Nanoko and Marou Villages who we selected as participants in R 2 R.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
UPPER Ba. Catchment Village area
The feel of the Place -
The food People eat (tastes, flavors, and smells) - Traditional Fijian foods include tavioka (cassava) and dalo (taro) roots, boiled or baked fish, and seafood in lolo (coconut cream). Meat is usually fried and accompanied with dalo and rourou (boiled dalo leaves in lolo), though you'll often find the colossally popular corned beef substituting for the real thing. However more and more Western diets and food and drinks have taken a strong focus in diet.
- The climate and topography -
Climate -The majority of the communities selected record annual average rainfall ranging from 2,000 mm to 3,500 mm with annual average temperature of between 25 to 27 degrees centigrade .
Topography - The Ba Catchment encompasses apprximately 950,000 ha. covering both sides of the Ba River. The disticts comprising the Catchment 13 Villages which will be the primary focus of the project.The land is classified as non- arable owing to steepness however suitable for Agroforestry.
- The social dynamics, cultural traditions, language, and ethnic diversity
The target communities and almost all native Fijians with only small numbers of Fiji's of Indian decent working small farms.
- The unique cultural trends - Ethnic Fijians call themselves Kai Viti ("the people of Viti") or i Taukei ("the owners of the land").
- The urban/rural breakdown - the target area is entirely rural.
- The role of agriculture, farming and aquaculture, and dominant crops.
The main crops grown in the country include sugarcane, copra, ginger, tropical fruits and vegetables. Livestock products include beef, pork, chicken and eggs. Fish production is a major activity of the Islands.The agricultural sector plays an important role in Fiji’s economy.
- What are the hopes of the People here?
The hopes of the people in the target area generally relate to securing greater income, work for women and youth to stop urban migration of the younger people in the community.
- The effect of diets on the health of the population - According to the Health Ministry, currently almost 1 in every 3 Fijians are being diagnosed with diabetes, that's 30% of the population. The International Diabetes Federation says the prevalence of diabetes in Fijian adults was 15% last year. It also says the proportion of undiagnosed cases last year was 53%.From 2002- 2012 overweight/obesity rates has risen by 8.4% (from 58.5% to 66.9% Source: STEPS), this means over half of Fiji is in an unhealthy weight range.On top of that only 15% of Fijians are eating enough fruit and vegetables each day, suggesting there are not getting enough healthy foods, while rising levels of high blood pressure and cholesterol suggest we’re eating too much salt, sugar and unhealthy fat in our diets.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Food availability in Fiji is generally good, especially when compared to other Pacific islands. While this has led to lower food security concerns, Fiji suffers from a double burden of over- and under-nutrition.
Diet - Adult obesity affects nearly a third of Fijians and rates of non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are correspondingly high. Meanwhile, micronutrient deficiencies are common, with many nutrients consumed below recommended levels among all age groups. The rate of childhood wasting (low weight for height, caused by acute malnutrition) is six per cent, which is higher than the regional average. Rates of anaemia in children are also high, affecting between 37 and 50 per cent of children under five (competing sources give different estimates) and between 33 and 42 per cent in women aged 12 to 44. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in under-fives was around 14 per cent, while the prevalence of zinc deficiency was 14.5% in children aged six months to two years. Among all ages, nutrients are consumed at levels below (fibre, iron and zinc) or significantly below (vitamin A and calcium) recommended levels.
Economics -Much of Fiji’s poor nutrition rate stems from an increasing dependence on cheap imported food and a decreased intake of traditional food. Not only are nutritionally inadequate imported foods cheap, but many traditional foods are now grown for export, which has increased prices, especially for urban Fijians.
Climate Change -Agriculture has seen a steady decline in the last several decades, which has been compounded by Fiji’s vulnerability to climate change. Fiji experiences frequent storms, cyclones, floods and drought, which can be devastating to agriculture, while trade policies, such as reducing tariffs on agricultural exports, have also weakened the sector.
Fruit-bearing trees as the primary tree component.Agricultural crops will be planted between fruit trees during the trees’ infant stage(first few years). After which, the perennial crops such as coffee (Coffea arabica) and abaca (Musa textilis) will be planted. Forest tree species shall be planted along the boundaries (perimeter planting), which will be ‘reserve’ trees for future household use. While bamboo will be planted along waterways.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Primary Project areas in Ba Fiji.
The Proposed 20 ha agroforestry farm area will have a potential stock of 4,000 + fruit trees (200 per hectare). Referring to the potential stocking level of the forest
tree area as reforestation component, the agroforestry farm will also have an equivalent stocking level of fruits trees of > 10% even excluding forest trees that will be interspersed. The agroforestry component can still be considered as an A/R project activity. The carbon sequestration and storage potential of the two land-use management schemes
would be different, favouring the forest tree area if only aboveground biomass is included in measurements.The project will also need the landholders to be trained in new land management techniques.Thus, proper information, field training, logistic and financial support are essential.Agroforestry Farm Development (Fruit trees, 10m x 5m spacing; with inputs of high-value crop seeds)
The ready availablity of fresh fruit and nuts in villages will add a considerable positive impact on diets.In Fiji we are blessed with a land full of healthy fruits and vegetables, and a sea full of delicious and nutritious fish and seafood. With the modern world catching up to us, so too has modern food. This has meant an influx of foods with high levels of salt, sugar and fat, such as noodles, soft drinks and fried foods. While our taste buds have had no problems keeping up, our bodies are paying a heavy price with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as Diabetes, Obesity, and Cancer now at crisis levels in Fiji. This is a significant contribution to changing diets in a positive way.
The 8 priority themes of PIRF in this areas are:
- Advocate nutritional issues and mainstreaming into the Government decision-making system.
- Promote and sustain household food security.
- Improve remote rural nutritional status.
- Improve nutritional status of the socio-economically disadvantaged and the groups that are nutritionally vulnerable (including children, mothers, the aged, differently-abled).
- Nutrition policy for schools in remote village locations.
- Promote healthy diets and lifestyles.
- Establish and promote an understanding of the value of Fijian Endemic trees.
- Strengthen collaboration with development partners.
This project is compatible with 5 new initiatives that the Ministry of Agriculture will be implementing soon to ensure that we successfully influence production through demand side intervention. The five  new initiatives are:
I. Optimising the use of JUNCAO Grass to enhance livestock production
II. Backyard Gardening
III. Establishment of fruit tree orchards
IV. Upscaling of Pulses Seed Production
V. Young Farmers Business Incubation Scheme
Fresh produce items with high potential for increased import substitution will be encouraged as inter cropping in Orchards. Given the potential benefit to local villages and the economy, the Fijian Government is focused on increasing the linkages between the tourism and agriculture sectors through strengthening fresh produce supply chains to maximize local benefits.The food import bill alone contributed FJ $794.9 million,( 9) comprising 16 percent of the total import bill for the country.
Fijian indigenous society is very communal, with great importance attached to the family unit, the village, and the vanua (land). A hierarchy of chiefs presides over villages, clans, and tribes. Chiefly positions are hereditary; a deceased chief is invariably followed by a kinsman or kinswoman, though not necessarily his own son or daughter. This reflects Polynesian influence: in most other Melanesian societies, chiefs are appointed on merit.
The largest social unit for Fijians is the Yavusa, defined by R.A. Derrick as the "direct agnate descendants of a single kalou-vu" (deified ancestor). Chiefly succession was from older brother/sister to younger brother/sister, after the death of their father/mother. When the youngest brother/sister died, the eldest son/daughter of the eldest brother/sister became chief. This tradition still influences Fijian society today, though less rigidly: there is more of a tendency nowadays towards primogeniture.
Each brother/sister in the family then formed his own branch of the yavusa, called the Mataqali. Each mataqali became the custodian of a specific task. A fully developed Yavusa has several mataqali:
In culture, its various crafts and music give it an identity along with it traditional etiquette and varying forms of clothing attire, its unique architecture also tells a story of a culture and its evolution, the following will discuss these aspects of culture in Fiji.
Each region has its own unique style in the making of pottery.The making of Tapa cloth, or (masi), is another craft associated with women. Tapa is made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree and decorated in charcoal with symbolic motifs and various patterns. In modern times, it has become fashionable for a masi to bear the name of the person who made it. Masi are often exchanged as gifts on formal occasions.
Weaving using various materials was another craft generally mastered by the women but also aspects of weaving were mastered only by the men, various types of weaving practiced were and still are; basket weaving, coconut rope weaving, and coconut leaves weaving.
Carving was practiced by the men; carving would be used for items of practical use and simple shapes and design were used. A lot of effort was put into well adorned weapons and items for the home and ceremony, today carving is practiced for its use in tourism and no longer plays a major role in Fijian society and life except in the case of the tanoa used for drinking kava.
An indigenous art form is the Meke, which may incorporate the seasea (women's fan dance) or a meke wesi (men's spear dance). It is usually a narrative of an important event such as a war, a chiefly installation, or even a scandal.
Music of Old Fiji consisted of various chants which often told a story or preserved information to be passed on from generation to generation, these songs used various traditional instruments.
Modern Fiji's national dress is the sulu, which resembles a skirt. It is commonly worn by both men and women.
Technology. Almost all of the communities in the project area have mobile phone and internet connection. Computer literacy is good amongst younger people in the community but in the project area most of the community have mobile phones.
This project is consistent with Government Policy,
SUVA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Minister for Agriculture Mahendra Reddy said on Thursday that the government was working to set up more fruit orchards around the island nation, so more fruits could be marketed.
He said that for the last five years, Fiji had imported around 16.3 million Fijian dollars (about 7.4 million U.S. dollars) worth of fruit while the value of exports was only 1.36 million Fijian dollars (about 0.6 million U.S. dollars).
Having a rich resource base and tropical climate, Fiji has an advantage in producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and this project specifically takes on this advantage.