Depleting Taveuni Soil Fertility Now A Big Concern

Dalo export reject rate increased from five per cent to an alarming 40 per cent due to soil overuse over the past years   The Minister of Agriculture is working
19 Apr 2016 09:55
Depleting Taveuni Soil Fertility Now A Big Concern
Second from left standing is(CSIRO)Chief Research Scientist in Soil Science Dr Neil Mckenzie,from left sitting is Research Director soil and landscape(CSIRO),also sitting third from left is Deputy Secretary,Agriculture Development in Fiji Uraia Waibuta and participants from Pacific countries including Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO from Australia). Photo:Litia Tikomailepanoni

Dalo export reject rate increased from five per cent to an alarming 40 per cent due to soil overuse over the past years


The Minister of Agriculture is working on addressing issues involved with the soil management especially on Taveuni. This is after the Ministry noted the drop in the production quota on Taveuni.

Deputy Secretary Agriculture Development, Uraia Waibuta, said: “We have come to realise that one of the specific problem is in Taveuni.

“This is because of the continuous planting of Daro on the Island, as it is the major Daro growing area.”

He said 80 per cent of the Daro farmed is for export market, and because of the continuous cropping, the soil quality has depleted dramatically.

“The reject rate of Dalo for the export market has substantially increased,” Mr Waibuta said.

“Before, during normal production when Dalo use to be planted, we expected about three to five per cent as the reject rate.”

This meant in every 100 dalo planted, at least three to five got rejected because of being undersize.

“As of now, that number has really increased from five to 40 per cent. The reject rate has increased due to overuse of soil,” he said.

“We can come up with the fertiliser mix, we can come up with different practises but the soil needs to rest in order to recover.”

Mr Waibuta said there is a need to reach out to the community and explain how well they can come out with a strategic plan in the long term.

“This as part of maintaining soil – not to lose its fertility and it’s important towards agriculture development,” he said.

“We have traditional agriculture which has been in existence in the Pacific and this is one of our strong areas, and practises such as crop rotation is part of package.

“The soil is left to rest for two to three years while farmers move on to another area for plantation.”


Other factors

Mr Waibuta said the increasing number in population and the increase in demand of agricultural production are among the factors as well.

“For us in Fiji, we fully understand and know how important soil is to agriculture products but then again the problem on the overuse of soil and depleting soil fertility,” he said.

“It is not only a problem here in Fiji but it is an international problem. People are overusing the soil; it contributes to low yield in terms of production.”

Mr Waibuta was speaking during the Pacific Soil Workshop yesterday at Novotel Nadi organised by the Pacific Community (SPC).

He believes the workshop will determine how well we can come up with some form of plans in order to try and ensure the soil is better used.

Edited by: RACHNA LAL


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