SANMA Provincial Agriculture Officer (PAO), Joel Kalnpel says ongoing works done on the integrated farming system is progressing well.
This is part of the preparations towards the SANMA Key Farmers Mini Agriculture show that will be held on June 13 and 14 this year in Luganville, Santo.
The fish pond has been completed and tilapia fishes are already in the pond. A chicken house was built on top of the fish pond, now awaiting shipment of broilers from the Department of Livestock in Port Vila.
Mr Kalnpel said vegetable seedlings were also sowed and will be transplanted to plots shortly.
“Different varieties of vegetable seeds include green ‘bun’ and white ‘bun’ (Chinese cabbage), round cabbages, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and capsicum,” the SANMA PAO said.
“There will be trials on the irrigation system. Some plants will be watered using the normal water supply and other plants will be watered using water from the fish pond and waste from the chicken.
“We will make comparison on the growth of plants and advice local farmers which water system is good to use in their farms.”
He said farmers will be informed of this integrated farming system and if any farmers are interested, they can seek advice and assistance from the Sanma DARD office in Luganville.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on Santo is encouraging people living in urban areas, who don’t have huge land, to make good use of small areas around their yard.
“Luganville residents may already be farming tilapia fish, but we encourage them to come to Sanma DARD office to see the model of integrated faming system already established,” PAO Kalnpel added.
“This integrated farming system will help people to access greens, fish and chicken just in their backyards.”
Mr Kalnpel assured the people in Luganville town that the SANMA Department of Agriculture will work in collaboration with the Luganville Municipal Council to implement the backyard garden program to assist Luganville residents who are interested.
“The municipality has passed a bylaw approving backyard gardens in urban areas but is not fully implemented so this is an opportunity where the Luganville Municipality will be working closely with the DARD on Santo to ensure the backyard garden program is carried out successfully and to ensure people have access to vegetables and source of protein like fish and chicken,” Mr Kalnpel said.
The SANMA PAO is encouraging Luganville residents to invest in backyard gardens as it is accessible any time, it reduces expenses and families will have a balanced diet daily.