Sustainable agriculture and agroforestry replacing unproductive land use


A new publication from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural (ACIAR) provides a clear view of the current status of mixed species agroforestry in Fiji and Vanuatu and offers valuable insights into the potential for agroforestry development to assist Fiji and Vanuatu and other Pacific island countries.
‘Promoting sustainable agriculture and agroforestry to replace unproductive land use in Fiji and Vanuatu’ was launched today at the Pacific Community (SPC) offices in Suva, Fiji, by the Director of SPC’s Land Resources Division, Inoke Ratukalou.

Edited by Steve Harrison and Md Saiful Karim, this collection of 15 working papers, prepared as part of ACIAR-funded research, was keenly supported by the governments of Fiji and Vanuatu as well as by key partners, SPC and The Queensland University of Technology.

Pacific island countries have a long history of mixed species agroforestry, integrating a variety of tree species into village and home gardens, and mixed livestock and crop systems, provides a sustainable source of timber, food and many other traditional products.

The publication indicates that over the years, the extent of agroforestry practice in Fiji and Vanuatu has significantly declined, and that numerous constraints are impeding its expansion.

This book identifies technical opportunities and constraints and explores financial, policy and legal measures that could facilitate sustainable agriculture and agroforestry as a viable replacement for unproductive land in Fiji and Vanuatu.

“While, I’m pleased the 15 papers will pave the way for further investigation and action, some major constraints on mixed-species agroforestry were identified, including knowledge gaps of agroforestry techniques, a lack of high quality planting material and difficulties with crop protection, for example from wildfires,” Mr Ratukalou said.

“As a partner of ACIAR in this research, SPC welcomes such outcomes as the identification of Pacific Island tree and crop species suitable for agroforestry, with priority tree species including, amongst others, sandalwood, whitewood, Pacific kauri, Pacific or tropical almond, breadfruit and cocoa,” he said.

ACIAR Research Program Manager for Agriculture Development Policy, Dr Ejaz Qureshi, said “The goal of the project was to catalogue land-use policy, the extent of land degradation and to explore land-use options, their financial viability and the nature of incentives needed to make change.”

The publication (MN191) entitled ‘Promoting sustainable agriculture and agroforestry to replace unproductive land use in Fiji and Vanuatu’ is available as free download from the ACIAR website.

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