There's an article in today's Fiji Sun about the people of Mali Island aiming to take more care of their land and resources. There's only one thing missing though - what about the sand dredging? I'd like to hear something about that problem in this area. Okay?
Province adopts land care idea
Mali Island in Macuata is now proud to call itself the first island to pioneer the land care committee concept, facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund.
Restoring the natural landscape on Mali Island, through community land care is a project by WWF, aimed to restore the island’s landscape.
The initiative by Mali islanders is an added notch to the conservation management practices of the province’s Qoliqoli Cokovata roles.
Sixteen young men and women were selected to champion safe agricultural practices in their village that was sustainable, and in harmony with its surrounding waters.
WWF sustainable land use officer, Opeti Vateitei, said the land care committee would act as community watchdogs and provide advice to their fellow villagers on how best to address land use issues. WWF, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, provided the technical and agricultural know how to the members as a part of the committee’s induction process. Mr Vateitei said community land use workshops were conducted in each of the four villages in the Mali district, to raise awareness of better land use practices and management. They also developed village delineated land use action plans, including those of islands and mainlands (district wide).
Community representatives were also trained on water management, water harvesting, water quality testing and improving water storage facilities on the island. As a result of this project, islands that has a high percentage of native flora will be able to improve its land quality and soil condition for long-term sustainable agriculture. A similar committee concept will also be adopted by the Dreketi and Sawaieke sites on Vanua Levu.
Mr Vateitei said the community representatives were also told that, 70 per cent of the health of their marine life depended on their activities on land, which emphasises the need for a carefully planned agricultural activity.