Kiribati climate tough on crops
Locals and volunteers in Kiribati are taking a stand against the effects of climate change by sharing gardening techniques.
Locals and volunteers in Kiribati are taking a stand against the effects of climate change on crops by sharing gardening techniques.
Rising sea levels, land erosion and salinated water have affected the ability to grow food and its government has repeatedly called for more global action.
Last week an i-Kiribati man Ioane Tetiota was deported to Kiribati from New Zealand after a failed bid to claim refuge from the effects of climate change.
His supporters said he and his family would struggle to adjust to Kiribati life because it is difficult to grow food and there is hardly any fruit.
But a volunteer urban planner for Volunteers Services Abroad, Shifani Sood, has just spent a year in Kiribati and told Daniela Maoate-Cox the climate is tough but growing food is not impossible.
SHIFANI SOOD: It certainly is difficult but there are people there doing some really good work, they are growing food. We've got the Taiwanese Technical mission for example, that's teaching people how to grow food and how to maintain food and it's working, food can be grown, it's just that you need some different techniques. So people are there and it is possible and I don't know too much about the case, I haven't yet raided the New Zealand Herald yet but it's difficult, no doubt, but there are ways around it.
DANIELA MAOATE-COX: So what kind of food can be grown?
SS: You get a lot of pumpkin, that's almost always available, breadfruit, bananas, bananas come from an outer island, lots of coconuts, eggplants grow quite freely as well, in my own garden I planted eggplants and they were working fine, also pawpaw. Other than that, I was able to order things like sweet potato now and then, we also got peppers, [and] cherry tomatoes. If people make the effort they can grow things and they do grow, if you've got the right setting, if you're able to get the soil. People are teaching as well, you do see seedlings on the side of the road and learning gardens in Tarawa where people are teaching how to use local food and there are cooking classes going on with what you can do, [or] stuff you can cook from what's existing.
DM-C: Is that widespread throughout Kiribati or is that a smaller group who are slowly spreading out?
SS: I was only really exposed to Tarawa. My outer island experiences were amazing as well and they grow their own food in the outer islands and the two that I went to were rather fertile. In Tarawa itself, it is a small group that's expanding so at the moment, there's one big farm, and they're setting up another one and one garden learning centre. It is a small island and that is quite a lot for Tarawa, it's a good start.
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