This project demonstrated the feasibility of integrated sustainable agriculture and livestock production systems for small-scale farmers in the island conditions. The project optimized overall agricultural and livestock production by using locally available resources through an integrated technology which employed multipurpose crops, animals and recycling of residues and byproducts as nutrients for animals and crops. The project not only provided opportunities for income generation and profitable self-employment to the participating farmers but also provided an example to other farmers and rural communities to get same benefits on successful duplication of the project. The project team attracted, encouraged and trained farmers through field days and hands-on training workshops and distributed sustainable farming, swine production and composting guides. A video of project activities was telecasted on local channel and distributed to non-subscribers of cable.
The Federated States of Micronesia is made up of 607 small islands spread over a million square miles of the Western Pacific Ocean. However, the total land area is only about 271 square miles. The islands of Micronesia are striving towards self-sufficiency while mindful of high malnutrition and an enormous trade imbalance attributable to importing foods. Very little food crops are cultivated at the local level, and most of the foods available at local markets are imported. Due to high shipping costs, these are very expensive and unaffordable for average local people. And even after paying high prices, people are not able to get fresh produce because of long transportation time. Although current agriculture programs are mostly on subsistence level, food crops and swine production are considered primary and important industries in Micronesia. Almost every household on the island has swine production operations, with capacities that range from a few animals to about twenty-five animals and backyard gardening. These operations may be small, but they are numerous. Local people mostly rely on banana, breadfruit and taro as main sources of food for themselves and also for livestock; however, their needs are usually much greater than the available food supplies.
Taro and pigs are part of many traditional and cultural practices. Value of taro and pigs is closely related with demands during funerals, annual feasts and daily community functions and activities. To meet this ever-increasing demand for food and feed, there is a crucial need to increase agricultural production by generating the ability to successfully raise livestock and grow food and feed crops for sustenance by training local farmers in the appropriate and skillful use of sustainable and integrated agriculture systems.
This project was specifically designed to implement and demonstrate integrated farming systems involving crop and swine production by using local resources, thus providing a sustainable alternative for the benefit of small-scale farmers and the environment.
The overall goal for this project was on-farm implementation and demonstration of integrated sustainable agriculture and livestock production systems for small-scale farmers in Micronesia. Specific objectives for the project were to
1) develop, implement and demonstrate cropping systems for multipurpose crops to maximize production in sustainable manner;
2) develop, implement and demonstrate swine production systems based on locally available resources for small-scale farmers;
3) develop, implement and demonstrate simple techniques to optimize the use of different components of crops for different end purposes, such as food, feed and nutrients for plants;
4)implement and demonstrate recycling of animal wastes and crop residues through composting;
5) educate and train farmers and rural communities in on-farm implementation of sustainable agriculture systems through demonstrations, training workshops and field days;
6) develop, publish, and distribute sustainable farming and swine production guides, easy-to-understand handouts and informative brochures in English and local language; and
7) record, develop and telecast project’s success stories in English and local language.