Artificial Islanders Learn New Ways To Grow Vegetables

September 1, 2010
By Clement Hadosaia

Despite the onslaught of sea level rise due to climate change that is slowly eating away parts of the shore lines of our beautiful islands, the artificial islanders of Taluabu are adamant and determined to stay on in their ancestral man-made beautiful islands.

A girl standing next to her garden in the island

Taluabu is one of the few artificial islands outside Takwa station in north Malaita, where fewer coconuts and trees are grown among the dwelling houses as shade trees. Being an artificial island which are man-made, the islanders rely mostly on the main land for water and food, which they have to travel each day to collect for their family. The practice has been going on for generations and womens had been the one resposible for these daily activities while their husbands would go out fishing or diving.

Mrs Antonia on her Island

Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) has involved heavily in food security and livelihood activities for the rural farmers, in collaboration with its rural based partner “the Baetolau Farmers Association” whose centre is based at Takwa. This is made possible through the AusAID funded “Strengthening Food Security & Rural Livelihood Program” which had enabled KGA and its partner to conduct various trainings on different methods of farming and technigues that are appropriate to the rural settings which suits their environment.

Shallots grown in an old suitecase

KGA’s Women & Nutritional Health Program Support Officer Mrs Roselyn Kabu, had recently spent a month working with the Baetolau Farmers Association (BFA), providing diffrent trainings, mentoring and assisting the farmers, especially the womens on how to grow nutritional gardens/ crops that are important for our diets. Women’s within these artificial islands were taught different ideas on how to grow vegetables using seeweeds, kitchen waste and mixed with top soils collected from the mainland. One of them is Mrs Antonia, who is growing her vegetables on boxes and raised beds. She says, the skills learned will free up some of her daily burdens which will become her rest days when she is tired. The vegetables are growing well which means that our family can have a balanced diet each day.  In the past we would normally eat energy (carbohydrates) and fish and rarely vegetables are included, she added.

She thanked KGA and its donor AusAID, for recognising their needs and adding values to the lives of the rural womens, especially the artificial islanders. They can now have improved diets for their families and save time for other activities.