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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - Proceedings Second International Conference on Vetiver. Bangkok, Thailand
Title Vetiver and cash crop erosion control systems for sustainable sloping land farming in Fiji
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2000
City Bangkok
Country/State Thailand
URL http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.534.3952&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Abstract
There is a need to address the degradation caused by unsustainable smallholder agriculture in Pacific
island countries, especially on marginal steeply sloping lands, as is the case in Fiji. Like most
developing countries, Fiji faces the crucial issue of sustainable management of its scarce land
resources. From 1956 to 1991 land use was greatly influenced by: (1) a 200-% increase in land used
for agriculture, and (2) a population increase of about 100 percent. More people have turned to the
land for their living; this is alarming given Fiji’s small size, topographical harshness and landownership
realities.
In collaboration with IBSRAM, GTZ/SPC, Landcare Research NZ and EU-PRAP, Fiji’s Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests (MAFF) is undertaking development activities with farmers to
identify technologies to minimize erosion and agricultural soil degradation. At the PacificLand site,
typical soil losses from farmers’ practice plots are 20-50 t/ha/yr whereas losses from plots with
contour hedgerows of vetiver and pineapple are under 2 t/ha/yr, i.e. less than 95% of losses from
farmers’ plots.
From this lesson learned, MAFF is demonstrating SLM through field days, farmer training and PRA
activities in areas affected by and prone to erosion and fertility decline. Currently 152 farmers have
adopted a low cost SLM “vetiver + cash crop” system with contour plantings of vetiver at the base of
the garden and cash crops, i.e. pineapple, banana, kava, bele, coconut, citrus and pigeon pea, at 10-20
m between rows up the slope. This combination has proved successful especially with low-income
rural communities. The effectiveness of the transfer reflects the extent of farmer involvement with
flow-on benefits to the farming community through: (i) increased environmental protection, food
security, production diversity and economic development; (ii) reduced poverty with greater equity and
social cohesion; and (iii) better government policies, institutions better able to manage land resources
and a more effective national science, technology and education programme.

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