ORGANIC FARMING HAS A POTENTIAL IN TUVALU
Mr Monise and his wife, Elesia displaying their produce for sale
(Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)
Two organic farmers are trying to prove that organic farming can be successful in Tuvalu. They are Mr Fialua Monise and Mr Sione Poumee. Mr Monise is a retired civil servant having served as an agricultural officer with the Agricultural Department while Mr Poumee is a Tongan and married to a Tuvaluan girl with wide experiences in agricultural farming in Tonga and in New Zealand.
Mr Monise told KMT News he is growing vegetables in his garden using only local compost mixing it up with pig waste. He does not need chemical fertilizers knowing that the produce reaped from gardens using chemical fertilizers can have a harmful effect on human lives. He is trying to grow his vegetables by using organic compost and he confirmed that organic farming is sustainable and has a potential for the local market as well.
Mr Monise explained that he used half-44 gallon drums for his compost. He collected various leaves and put it in the drum to rot, and then he mixed it with big waste and leave it for a few days before he put it in the beds that have already being prepared.
The Tongan, Mr Poumee is not far from Mr Monise’s farm but further to the north. Mr Monise and Mr Poumee’s farms are all on the northern side of the islet and they may be just less that 100 metres apart.
Mr Poumee tolad EKT News yesterday that their family have started eating from the produce of his farm. He said he is growing all kinds of vegestables, taro, pumpkim, cabbage, cucumber, egg plant, breadfruit, water melon, sweet potato, etc..
He said he had been involved in farming for many years and he had a big farm in Tonga. When they moved to New Zealand, he also started farming vegetables and they did eat from the produce of his farms. He said he does not want to eat rice and that is why he is keen to do farming. His farm in Auckland, New Zealand was producing very well and he used to share his garden produce to his neighbors, friends and relatives
Mr Poumee has lived in Tuvalu for over two and a half year and he wants to show Tuvaluans that they can grow their own food just by using local compost. He said they do not need chemical fertilizers. He is also willing to show his experiences to anybody who wish to do organic farming. One setback in his farm is the water problem. He wanted to secure a water tank specially for his farm.
Not only vegetable, Mr Poumee also has chickens and ducks.