Project assists in mitigating climate change at Yule Island

yule yams

Yule model farmer Mathilda Parau and community members displaying tubers of African yam during the Labao field day on October 7 2015

Yule islanders in Kairuku-Hiri can now farm improved crop varieties and livestock breeds as a result of the project which has enabled them acquiring necessary skills and knowledge from NARI.

They can cultivate improved varieties of rice, cassava and yams and rear chicken and goats without any major problems for food security and income, despite their harsh farming environment and geographical isolation.

On Wednesday October 7, model farmers organized a mini-field day at Labao village to display their produce and share their knowledge with other farmers on the island.

Yule is a dry island community with poor soil for agriculture and locals lacking innovations for improved food production. Soil fertility has diminished over the years and emerging changes in the climate and environment have put more pressure on the community.

However the interventions by NARI have shown some light in which villagers can competently improve farming – by producing large tubers of yams and cassava from improved planting materials and new farming techniques, as compared to their local varieties and farming system. They can also look after chicken and goats as sources of protein and cash, besides their fish from the sea.

Senior NARI scientist Site Coordinator Dr Peter Gendua said the project was about enabling rural communities to mitigate climate change related stresses through innovative agriculture.

A key element of the approach was that farmers were involved in field research from which they could learn and adopt best practices based on outputs on their own farms.

John Ume

Yule model farmer Mathilda Parau and community members displaying tubers of African yam during the Labao field day on October 7 2015

Dr Gendua said Yule Island farmers did well in adopting the technologies through effective community organization and participation with improved farm productivity which was much better than their traditional practice, which the farmers have openly acknowledged.

“Food security for families is foremost important; but extras can be sold for cash to meet other needs and social obligations,” Dr Gendua told farmers during the field day.

He also asked the innovative farmers to share their acquired skills with other new interested farmers.

During the field day, a new micro-mill for rice milling was presented to the farmers.

Model farmer Mathilda Parau said NARI’s African yam has done wonders for the community. Parau said while yam and cassava are common root crops for the islanders, the introduced varieties survived the droughts and produced large tubers which provided plenty of food for the households.

Village Chief John Ume thanked NARI and EU for choosing Yule as the host site for the project. He said their efforts have impacted the community with over 100 men and women farmers benefiting.

“I’m excited that we can now be able to do better agriculture and I cannot say more seeing the rich display of harvests from the island,” Ume said.

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