|Fiji holds workshop on its land use capability classification at the Friendly North|
|Thursday, 26 April 2012 10:02|
Friday 20 April 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva –
The Fiji Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD), held a workshop on Fiji’s land use capability classification at the Friendly North Inn, Labasa on Friday 20th April, 2012.
The aim of the one-day workshop, opened by the Director for Land Resources & Planning Division, Mr. Osea Bolawaqatabu, was to bring together various stakeholders involved in land use planning and natural resource management so that they could gain an insight into Fiji’s land use capability system. It is anticipated that this awareness workshop will form the basis for the use of land according to its capability for future development in order to minimise land degradation.
Land use planning is a logical process for resolving demands for competing land uses. It is a spatial allocation of land for different uses, and is becoming increasingly important for Fiji. The primary purpose of land use planning is not only to support development initiatives but to also encourage sustainability, identify optimum management practices, foster economic growth and thus improve living standards.
If the present indiscriminate land use and demographic trends continue, there will be an increasingly urgent need to match land systems, soil types and land uses in the most rational way possible in order to optimise sustainable land resource development and management to meet the needs of society.
The recent flooding that devastated areas in the Western Division have drawn attention to the need for a land use capability classification. The classification is a systematic arrangement of different kinds of land according to properties that determine its capacity for sustained production, and it provides a ranking of this capability. The Fiji classification system comprises eight classes ranked in order of increasing degree of limitation in relation to agricultural use, and decreasing order of agricultural versatility. Class 1 is the best land and Class 8 the poorest. Class 4 is considered marginal for intensive cropping activities.
The basis for this assessment is an inventory of the facts about the land — erosion, type of soil, wetness and climate — and the range of potential crops it can support, its productivity, ease of management and risk of degradation.
The Fiji Department of Agriculture and various other agencies and organisations are using a land use capability classification system as a basis for land use planning, but very few understand how classifications are carried out, hence the need for this workshop. Similar awareness workshops have been held in Suva and the last one will be held in the western division early next month.