Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) is an indigenous registered non profit organisation (charitable trust).
The goal of KGA is:
- to strengthen village-based food security in Solomon Islands using participatory, practical, grass-roots approaches that enable village people to examine, understand and develop their own solutions to improving household food security and village-based agriculture economy
KGA as an organisation is structured with the following component areas:
- Information services: Monitoring and evaluation system for project monitoring and planning; libraries, training videos, possibly WorldSpace systems, radio messages and newsletters; trained village “information brokers”.
- Youth in agriculture: Youth targeted across KGA Program with M&E indicators; network of youth trainers for groups of young men and women at farmer schools and other CBOs.
- Women & nutritional health: Model supsup garden at Atoifi Adventist Hospital, for staff training and use during outreach visits in highland areas of central Malaita; health programs at hospitals/clinics; nutrition training at all KGA and farmer school workshops; demonstrations of smokeless stoves at farmer schools.
- Marketing & value adding: Increased extension/backstopping food processing and marketing skills; value chain mapping and analyses of selected commodities.
- Project management & organisational development: Integrated Program components; staff and consultants hired, mobilised and utilising resources to strengthen KGA and partner CBOs for improved agriculture livelihoods; M&E system for Program reports (Board and donors), plans, and organisational learning.
- Partner capacity building & networking: Partnership agreements with 15-20 prioritised rural partners organisations, farmers’ schools, CBOs, etc.; workshops with topics defined by KGA rural livelihood surveys and PMN conferences; networks developed and supported; members’ access to government services and agencies improved.
- Food crops & organic farming: Partners, including exchange networks conserving and distributing local/introduced vegetables and staple crops; local techniques collected by farmers, documented, tested and distributed; demonstrations on crop intensification; awareness program/training on disasters/emergencies and responses.
- Small livestock: New technologies generated and disseminated for management of pigs and poultry from research centres at Burns Creek and one farmer school; survey of gaps in the poultry supply chain, including marketing skills training.
Program services are delivered through selected rural partners and through a national farmers network called the Solomon Islands Planting Material Network with close to 2000 members across the Solomon Islands.
The Challenges of farming in solomon islands….
Solomon Islands’ farmers are faced with problems in continuing to provide sufficient food for their households in light of current population increases (2.8% per annum – 50% of the population under 14 years). In turn this has led to intensification of cropping, reduced fallow and soil degradation. The range of food crops is diminishing, and forests are being depleted as farmers are forced to use relatively fertile forestland for a temporary fix. It is expected that yields will continue to decline unless there is concerted efforts for change.
Farmers need new ideas, and new ways of obtaining them – much of this can be achieved by helping farmers learn from and help each other. To achieve this, there is need to build communication networks, linking rural communities and farmers’ organisations, creating partnerships with NGOs, private sector retailers, government agencies and on-line expert networks. Improved access to information will enhance livelihoods of rural communities in Solomon Islands and, in the long run, help reduce poverty.