Integrated Production Systems in Micronesia

Integrated Production Systems in Micronesia

Integrated Production Systems in Micronesia

verma publications

In the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), communities have little opportunity to purchase fresh produce, as much of the available food is imported and expensive. Little food is produced at the local level, so while FSM is striving toward self-sufficiency, the people of the islands struggle with food access and malnutrition. Of the food grown locally, swine production, along with food crops in households, is an important part of the food economy. Almost every household has swine production operations, and people rely on banana, breadfruit and taro as main sources of food for themselves. The households also use this produce for livestock; however, their needs often outweigh available supplies.

According the Dr. Virendra Verma, College of Micronesia - FSM, 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. This can be accomplished by training local farmers in appropriate and skillful use of sustainable and integrated agriculture systems. To meet this need, he specifically designed the Western SARE project On-Farm Implementation and Demonstration of Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Production Systems for Small-Scale Farmers in Micronesiato 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.

Specific objectives for the project were to:

1) Develop, implement and demonstrate cropping systems for multipurpose crops to maximize production in a 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 languages; and

7) Record, develop and telecast project’s success stories in English and local languages.

Verma first held a stakeholder meeting to assist in the choosing of crops to research and demonstrate. According to Verma’s report, demonstration plots at the pilot site and producers’ sites were developed, and cropping systems for sweet potato, taro, banana, eggplant, kangkong and papaya were established. Planting materials for sweet potato, taro, banana and kangkong were multiplied through tissue culture at the Kosrae Agricultural Experiment Station (KAES) and used at all sites for planting. Hybrid seeds were used to prepare papaya and eggplant seedlings at the KAES. Sweet potato and taro were planted on raised beds to provide desired depth for storage root and corm development and for proper water drainage. He and his team used on-farm composting of manure along with crop residues and used multiple integrated activities to minimize external inputs. There were demonstration plots at the Kosrae site and on producers’ land.

Swine were regularly fed sweet potato and kangkong leaves for protein and fiber. During harvesting season, swine were also fed on surplus sweet potato storage roots, taro corms and banana fruit to provide carbohydrates.

The project demonstrated that a modified diet based on locally grown crops could efficiently and completely substitute the usual commercial swine feed. However, the farm areas at all sites need to be expanded and systematically maintained in order to feed swine throughout the year on a modified diet based on local resources, says Verma.

Producer interest in the project was high. Verma and his team conducted extensive outreach. Seventy-eight participants at the pilot site were trained through workshops and another 124 participants attended field days. Brochures, PowerPoint presentations and a DVD were developed. The DVD covers tissue culture multiplication, acclimatization, banana cultivation, soft taro cultivation, sweet potato cultivation, papaya cultivation, eggplant cultivation, fertilizer and compost application, harvesting, storing and composting. Copies of the video have been delivered to telecommunication companies to telecast in Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Marshall Islands on local cable channels to educate the wider island communities.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) FW09-302, On-Farm Implementation and Demonstration of Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Production Systems for Small-Scale Farmers in Micronesia .

Product specs
Location: Micronesia | West

Sustainable Ag in the Pacific Islands

Download the report to read highlights of funded projects in Guam, Micronesia, the Northern Marianas Islands, and American Samoa, such as combating plant disease in key crops, building direct links between farmers and chefs, and creating integrated vegetable and livestock systems.