17 Oct 2008

SPC says increasing soil salinity and erosion threaten food security

12:41 pm on 17 October 2008

A food security expert from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says salinity and erosion are threatening the future sustainability of traditional staple crops in the region.

Siosiua Halavatau says he is leading a regional project assisted by the EU to find solutions and provide funding and technical expertise to assist families affected by a noticeable decline in crop yield.

He says soil quality has been affected by the changing seasons, coupled with heavy rainfalls, rising temperatures and sea level rise.

Mr Halavatau says they have even taken samples of traditional root crop varieties in a bid to preserve them, in case they die out.

"We take to the countries tissue cultures, materials, of taro, sweet potato that we actually evaluate like on the atolls because of the effect of climate change as it includes increasing salinity and drought. So we actually select sweet potatoes, taro and cassava."

SPC's Siosiua Halavatau's focus at the climate change roundtable gathering in Apia is on food security.