Integrated backyard farming is important as only a small space is needed to implement many agricultural activities to assist in maintaining food security and livelihood of people.

This farming system includes feeding chickens, using chicken manure to plant vegetables, aquaculture fish farming and using its water to water the vegetables. At the end of the day we have sufficient food to feed our families.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) continues to advise farmers to establish such farming system.

“The benefit of integrated backyard farming is to increase productivity of different varieties of root crops and small livestock animals, profitability of using animal manure provides opportunity to smallholder farmers to adopt a new technology and this approach is safe to the environment,” Director of DARD, Antoine Ravo, revealed during the recent launch of integrated farming projects in Santo.

Mr Ravo added, “our communities must fight against the impacts of climate change that is currently affecting us and to ensure it does not affect our food security, thus the only way is to come up with farming systems that are resilient to changes in the weather pattern.”

Today in Vanuatu, there is a high number of patients with diabetes and other diseases or Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) through lifestyle or what people consume daily, especially imported food.

“I appeal to the community that when you plant local produce in your gardens or in this farm, consider having enough food in your kitchen first before selling them to other people,” Director Ravo said.

“The vision of the National Sustainable Development Plan stated that we must have a stable, sustainable and prosperous Vanuatu by 2030. There are three development aspiration that we could relate to, the first being us maintaining a natural environment on cultivated land that produce our local food, culture, economic and ecological need.

“The second is to ensure a high resilience capacity on climate change and other natural disaster and the third being a stable economic base on equitable, sustainable growth that creates employment and revenue in rural and urban areas.”

The Department of Agriculture is mandated to assist farmers with technical knowledge on farming systems to reduce the impacts of climate change and to ensure food security and adequate food to sustain life of families and if there is surplus they can be sold to earn income.

“The National Agriculture Policy has a policy directive that address the ‘environment friendly agriculture’ (Thematic area 8) and ‘food and nutrition security needs ‘(Thematic area 10) for the people of Vanuatu to work together with other stakeholders to address.

“Today, we are happy to witness the launch of an integrated farming system that has been established by the government in partnership with the Vanuatu Skills for Partnership (VSP). The integrated farm will assist the communities of Panpan Manaro and Panpan Tsunami Street to build back life,” Mr Ravo stated.

The Department of Agriculture assured the communities that officers will make regular visits to assist these communities with any farming needs.

“We need to work together to ensure the project will be of great assistance to us. We look forward for the project to grow and benefit the families of these two areas,” Director Ravo concluded.

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