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Improving livelihood security at Fagaloa Bay

A Small Grants Programme (S.G.P.) capacity building project in the villages of Salimu and Musumusu, initiated in September 2017, is well and truly underway. 

The project has three main objectives, which were put, in place to increase livelihood resilience in the two villages situated in Fagaloa Bay. 

The first highlights the need for an increased growth of crops, particularly coconut trees, which in recent months have produced low yields, whilst the second aims at minimizing soil erosion in the watershed area by fencing in roaming animals, the major cause of land degradation, and fencing off family plots to ensure crops are protected. 

It also focusses on planting native shrubs and trees along the riverbanks to further mitigate soil erosion from climatic events such as flooding. 

Finally, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) support, objective three acts to improve coastal fishery resources with the expectation of providing villagers with an alternative source of income. 

On Friday 12th October, S.G.P. Sub Regional Coordinator, Filifilia Iosefa, and U.N.D.P.-G.E.F.-S.G.P. Intern, Monty Jefferson, carried out a site visit where they were shown around by the Salimu and Musumusu village Matais, who described how the project was progressing. 

Family plots from both villages have been provided with additional banana and coconut trees by the M.A.F. Crops Division to ensure they do not experience another harvest where there is not sufficient produce to sustain families and provide an income, and fencing has been erected around the boundaries ensuring no unwanted animals can enter. 

As well as that, crop diversification is taking place, with greater amounts of taro being grown instead of the more prominent kava plant, Piper methsyticum, providing a further food and income-generating source to a number of families. 

With the cooperation from M.A.F. Fisheries Division, two tilapia hatcheries have been constructed in Musumusu village, with the required protective fencing also surrounding the site. Currently moss is being cultivated within the two concrete ponds which will act as the necessary food source for the tilapia fry, expected to arrive by the beginning of November, a novel step for the community which are excited about this different method of food production. 

As well as that, an inshore oyster hatchery has been created further diversifying food and income generating sources. 

With approximately eleven months remaining of the project, it is currently on track to provide the villages of Salimu and Musumusu with the required resources needed to ensure livelihood resilience is increased. 

The alleviation of natural and human pressures on terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems is vital, and this project provides a clear example of a community understanding what is required to ensure a sustainable legacy can be left for the future generations to come.

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