Farmers empowered by sustainable replanting techniques.
Organised by WWF-Pacific with funding support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) through the Pacific Ecosystems based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project, the Dreketi catchment Sustainable Land and Forest Management Training which was held at Seaqaqa Primary School boardroom, focused on strengthening the capacity of farmers towards understanding the importance of their role in the conservation of the Dreketi River and the Great Sea Reef (Ramsar site) as well as reinforce greener agricultural practices.
Topics of discussions ranged from the importance of sustainably managing land clearing by encouraging rehabilitation of deforested areas through the prevention of runoff from the land and into the Dreketi river.
It also provided discussions amongst other cane farmers on identifying Community Land Care Champions in addition to creating a Dreketi Community Land Care group.
The Land Care Champions will be used as role models to promote the use of sustainable land management and sustainable forest management practices within Dreketi to reduce the impacts of unsuitable farming practices that have negative impacts on the marine and terrestrial ecosystem.
A site visit was conducted to provide participants with a clear understanding of the need to apply sustainable farming practices especially in protecting the buffer zone beside the Dreketi river.
“All participants went for a field trip to Mr. Jai Narayan's farm in Seaqaqa, the exercise included planting assorted fruit trees, this was done on the buffer zone beside the Dreketi catchment river,”said WWF-Pacific Project coordination officer Vinesh Kumar.
Kumar added that the farmers are committed to planting trees on the buffer strips as this was a major subject of discussion during the training.
“To address food security and strengthen alternative livelihoods, vegetable seeds such as cowpea and watermelon, were also given to the farmers.”
A total of 34 fruit seedlings which included lemon, guava, tamarind, soursop, tarawau and mango were provided to the participants for them to plant on their farms.
He added that each of the farmers were provided with a notebook,to record the planting of fruit trees and vegetable seeds as an effort to promote record keeping, farm planning and budgeting.
Facilitators for the training where from the Ministry of Forestry, the Labasa Cane Producers Association,the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and WWF.