FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
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Vanuatu get community nurseries to help with cyclone Harold recovery

21/07/2020 South Pentecost, Vanuatu

Through the month of July, teams of government agencies and donor partners are in South Pentecost, Vanuatu establishing ten community agroforestry nurseries in ten communities affected by TC Harold. The activity is part of the Integrated Sustainable land and Coastal Management (ISLCM) project, which aims to implement sustainable and integrated management of forest, land and marine resources. The newly established community nurseries are part of the Livelihood Recovery Program in  communities located around the proposed Bay Homo Community Conservation area in South Pentecost. 

The team are comprised of Government officers from Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Department of Forests and members of the FAO GEF-5 ISLCM project.

Past observations show that communities may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to sow vegetable and forestry seeds, which were provided as response measures from previous disasters. Although the majority of these seeds have expired, they are still stored in homes.  Learning from this experience, FAO is taking a different approach, which is to train and assist communities to build community nurseries, and then train the communities in sowing their seeds in the nursery and nurturing them.  Once these seeds reach planting age, the communities can collect the seedlings and plant directly in their gardens.

The main objective is to restore the local livelihood base and improve food security and nutrition through the rehabilitation and establishment of agroforests and community-based nurseries and household food security practices in affected areas of South Pentecost. This initiative will work with 693 households (278 women / 415 men) and with a total population of 2 923 inhabitants.

Agroforestry community nurseries have proved to be an important step towards sustaining food security and also in developing a sustainable wood supply and rehabilitating the local environment around areas affected by cyclone and other meteorological/natural phenomenon. However, such community activity cannot entirely prevent environmental degradation, nor will it guarantee all the food and wood needs of the affected communities -at least in the short term. It must be considered alongside other forestry and agricultural development efforts, and it illustrates the need and potential for intersectoral approaches and cooperation, such as this case in which FAO-Vanuatu works in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries, and Biosecurity, National Disaster Management Office and the provincial, local authorities and traditional chiefs.

The activities of the Livelihood Recovery Program include;

  • To distribute 1 100 of certified seeds to 693 households, and cuttings from the Community Nurseries.
  • To provide 693 households with hand tools, post-harvest equipment and basic household production packages (vegetable seeds and fertilizer).
  • To formulate three case studies on good practices (watershed rehabilitation (Taro irrigated gardens), vermicomposting (Hen houses) and coastal forest rehabilitation (recovering of  coastal forest) to be replicated in other projects sites.
  • To perform a study on existing markets for agroforestry products, market-based problems faced by farmers and types of support needed for expansion and product development.
  • To conduct trainings on: agroforestry farm planning and development; nursery operations and management; climate-smart farmer field schools; rice and corn seed production; mangrove rehabilitation; livestock production and management; and entrepreneurship and business planning using Farm Field School approach.

The expected impacts of Livelihood Recovery Program are:

  • Contributed to restoring agricultural production by providing alternative taro-based farming livelihoods.
  • Reduced beneficiaries’ expenses related to production and post-harvest activities, increasing their savings and reducing debt.
  • Enabled greater crop diversification through intercropping of several vegetables, planting materials, etc.
  • Contributed to increased productivity of agroforestry systems and improved the vigour and health of coastal ecosystems through coastal rehabilitation activities.

Total budget for Livelihoods Recovery program in South Pentecost is VUV 75 142 281 in the next 6 months. Team is currently in the project area until July 29.

For further information, please contact: Mr. RicardoJavier DominguezLlosa, , E-mail: [email protected]