· Test the breeding of tilapia and local freshwater fish in fishponds to produce fingerlings that SDA members can learn to grow at their homes
· Demonstrate how to use overflow water to irrigate home gardens and grow water cabbage
· Organize a nursery where seedlings of several varieties of vegetables could be grown and tested for members to plant in their home gardens
In American Samoa, where much of the fruit and vegetables consumed must be flown in from great distances, there is a need to encourage local production for local consumption.
This project proposes to integrate a systems approach to production by growing tilapia and freshwater fish in ponds, then using the overflow water to irrigate cabbage and other vegetables, some of which could be grown for seed that would be distributed for planting in home gardens.
The project showed that several varieties of cucumbers produced abundant fruit for long periods, unlike previously grown varieties that produced limited fruit for a short period.
Many fingerlings were produced in the fishponds and distributed among group members as well as to people outside the group. By crossing some of the different varieties of tilapia, participants produced a reddish light-colored tilapia, some of which have been placed in aquariums for ornamental purposes.
Among the farming methods that participants learned were that planting seedlings or crops is much healthier if the farmers plant as close as possible to the full moon and weed two weeks after the full moon to keep the weeds from growing again.
“Overall, I think the project was successful and will lead to more in the future,” says project coordinator Litani Ahoia. “By working together, some poor members were able to share tools, methods, knowledge, manpower, planting materials and their interest.”
In addition to providing basic homegrown foods, the project is encouraging many farmers to go into commercial farming. They are seeking arrangements with local businesses that might be interested in ordering produce from them instead of from other countries.
FARMER ADOPTION AND DIRECT IMPACT
Many of the group members have continued with their home gardening, and most were surprised to learn that they could successfully grow freshwater fish. Several farmers expressed interest in continuing the projects to hone their farming skills and conduct a similar program in 2001.
FUTURE RECOMMENDATIONS OR NEW HYPOTHESES
Forming cooperatives could encourage people who normally stay at home to be more productive.
DISSEMINATION OF FINDINGS
Five workshops were conducted, mainly in concert with religious activities, with attendance of 16, 22, 27, 20 and 18 at each, respectively. In addition inspection days were held once a month where participants received points toward prizes and awards. One camping day and two fishing days were also held.
The producers involved learned the power of working together and sharing ideas on farming methods.