An atoll agriculture research and development centre has been established in Kiribati to help communities maintain their food security.
The centre has been established in co-operation with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The secretariat's participatory extension officer, Judith Vaneignatten, says scarce land resources and infertile alkaline soils make atoll agriculture very difficult, and almost all food is imported.
She says the challenge is to create soil, so that dependency on food imports is reduced.
Ms Vaneignatten says the centre will also look at health problems related to non-communicable diseases, and the research will benefit all atolls in the Pacific region.