Land, water and climate change
Projects combine efforts to train Savai’i communities in the use of alternative sustainable and resilient agricultural methods
Two environmentally based projects under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) joined forces last week to provide a combined training for 20 villages in Savai’i, on Sustainable Land and Integrated water management and Climate Resilient Sustainable Agricultural Practices.
The Project for ‘Strengthening Multi Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes (S.M.S.M.C.L) of Samoa’ and the Project for ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’ jointly provided the intensive three day community-based training in Savai’i for a total of 80 participants representing the Districts of Gagaifomauga #1, Gagaifomauga #2 and Gagaemauga #2 starting from the village of Saleaula to Aopo.
The Community Based Training (C.B.T) is a significant component of the S.M.S.M.C.L’s training programmes on sustainable land and integrated water management of Samoa’s farm landscape.
This is one of the Project’s major step to strengthen local capacities by enhancing the awareness, knowledge, attitudes and skills of farmers so that they can aptly adopt sustainable agricultural practices that create wide impact on landscapes management.
This recent C.B.T which was held at the Bayview Resort at Saleaula, Savai’i from 21-24 June 2017, was carried out by the S.M.S.M.C.L project with trainers sourced from the Project’s key Partner agencies including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment offices in Upolu and Savaii, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries , the Samoa Bureau of Statistics, the University of the South Pacific School of Agriculture, the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development as well as Non-Governmental Organisations and selected representatives of S.M.S.M.C.L’s Project villages in Upolu and Savai’i.
This particular training was jointly funded by the two projects as it is provided comprehensive coverage of the objectives of both Projects. The two Projects therefore combined their resources and skills through this training to encourage and support local households and wider community actions to reduce pressures on natural resource from competing land uses in the wider landscape.
According to the Climate Resilience Project’s Principal Strategic Planning Officer Limutau Kirisimasi Seumanutafa, “the training helped to achieve the Project’s objective of ‘strengthening the ability of Samoan communities to adapt through informed decisions and manage the likely climate change driven pressures in a proactive, integrated and strategic manner.”
S.M.S.M.C.L’s Project Manager, Seumaloisalafai Afele Faiilagi emphasised that “the training is one key method by the Project to achieve its primary objective of strengthening local capacities, incentives and actions for integrated landscape management where natural resource conservation is promoted while enhancing sustainable local livelihoods.”
Seumaloisalafai added that the Sustainable Land and Integrated Water Management Trainings are an S.M.S.M.C.L initiative that has been developed using a “whole farm landscape approach aimed at reducing vulnerabilities especially land degradation caused by climate change impacts and increasing the resilience of our local community through sustainable agriculture for its small-scaled production systems.”
Through the conducting of this C.B.T at the district level, participants were expected to learn to commit to adopting sustainable farming practices and establish model farms based on proper farm planning.
Nafo’i Toa Selemaea of Avao was particularly impressed with the focus on the development of landscape based farm plans and shared with the rest of the training participants his draft Landscape Plan which he had formulated based on what he had learnt from the training.
“It’s a new and useful concept for me to be able to strategically plan the layout of my farm based on the land conditions and landscape and shape,” Nafo’i shared.
Pepe Sene Memea of Fagaee was happy for the opportunity to share with the rest of the training participants and trainers a glimpse of his planned ‘wood lot’ he had developed from 2001 with the assistance of MNRE Forestry Division team in Savaii.
“I’m proud to be able to show off to my people from neighbouring villages the positive outcome of ‘proper farm planning’ as it is not necessarily for my benefit but for that of my children and their children,” Pepe stated.
It is the belief of both Projects that the success of this training was achieved through a unified multi- sectoral effort and participation of all stakeholders, the men and women who manage, utilize, and depend on the products and resources from the land itself.
The Project for ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’ is funded by the Adaptation Fund while the S.M.S.M.C.L Project is financed by the Global Environmental Facility. Both projects are implemented by the United Nations Development Fund and operated through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.