Innovative island solutions for thriving oceans - a Fiji case study
Alternative sources of income that are being explored include compost piggery, cash cropping and a nursery filled with all kinds of food bearing trees.
At a business training to empower women and youth groups, to setup the projects, lessons in business basics and simple accounting to balance income and expenditure and budgeting were shared. They also learnt about writing concepts for starting a business. The training was facilitated jointly with Westpac Bank’s community outreach unit and funded through the “Building Effective Community Driven Governance Systems in Mali District to Enhance Community Access to Food, Income Generating Opportunities and Livelihoods,” project.
The project is sponsored by the Australian government through its Fiji Community Development Programme.
Operating for about a year now, the project seeks to promote a rich marine environment by easing the pressure on fishing. If the villagers have other income sources, they won’t find the need to go fishing often giving marine resources the chance to replenish and restock.
Ligaulevu village has setup a compost piggery. Composting is viewed as an effective and environmentally friendly way of managing pig waste by recycling useful nutrients back into the soil to improve soil fertility.
They can use the compost in their plantations and sell to neighboring villages, deriving an income. At Vesi village, a nursery of fruit bearing trees, root crops and vegetables has been set up, while Matailabasa village is focused on earning more money from cash crops and vegetables.
Project officer Unaisi Malani-Tagicakibau said it is necessary to empower islanders with all the knowledge they need to be able to coordinate their project in a financially rewarding manner that allows them to meet food and daily needs.
“Easing the pressure on their marine resources will help ensure the sustainability of the Great Sea Reef,” she said.
“All the actions that can be taken must be pursued whether it be marine protected areas or alternative sources of income to protect the GSR.
“The GSR is of importance not just at the community level but also at the national level, holding up industries like fisheries, and tourism.
“Protecting the GSR is equivalent to protecting the food and income sources of thousands of people and preserving the economic stability of a nature. That’s the bigger picture.
“For the people of Mali, supplementing income from marine resources with other options, secures food production now and in the future.”
The Mali and GSR projects also help the fulfillment of Fiji’s commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity through the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan by helping maintain marine biota that thrive within the reef system, from the tips of Udu Point in Vanua Levu to the Yasawas.