Beru Island tackles malnutrition through integrated farming

2 May 2022

Integrated farming methods have been introduced to the community of Beru Island in Kiribati to tackle malnutrition in children and pregnant women.

Malnutrition issues on the island became prevalent after long periods of droughts, as Beru Island’s location in the very Southern part of Kiribati is susceptible to dry weather.

Poultry and piggery farming is one of the successful ventures that today helps the people of Beru Island meet their nutritional demands. The initiative entails breeding chickens for fresh eggs and pigs and boars for animal meat and protein for the residents of Beru’s numerous communities.

There are plans to introduce agricultural activities to help communities plant green vegetables like cabbage, cucumber and other vitamin-produced plants accumulated manure collected poultry and piggery farm.

“Food security becomes an issue in Beru from several potential factors such as long periods of drought, limited access to capacity building in food security on basics resolutions and culture barriers with regards to sharing knowledge and skills,” said USP Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (SUPA) Research Officer in Kiribati, Alice Tekaieti.

“Poultry and Piggery training is also culturally fit with the daily chores at the household level. The training minimises the potential gaps between a normal household chicken and piggery farming to serve the house members and a more community-based farm to serve many more communities.”

The USP’s EU- Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) + SUPA project, in close collaboration with the Government of Kiribati’s Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development (MELAD) and the Rikian Arora Community, has been facilitating training for the communities.

“The idea of this project was initiated after the findings and short report presented by the Medical Assistant in Beru in 2020,” Tekaieti said.

Training and introduction of the farming methods to the communities have addressed major nutritional problems for the island.

“Integrated farming could be a possible and most feasible thought to address this major problem at the community and island level and will greatly benefit mothers, young children and the people of Beru,” she added.

The Rikian Arora Community has been running the farms since November 2021 and more than 2000 eggs have been sold to the communities. It hopes to explore ways to source chicken feeds locally to assist with the farm needs.

According to Tion Anterea, a landowner who offers space on his land for this Poultry and Piggery at no cost, “We have always wanted to do this but lacked the technical expertise and financial support”.

“Many thanks to the GCCA + SUPA USP capacity building sessions that are based on the resilience of the people because it sets a clear pathway that the impossible is possible.


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