2-Nitrogen-fixing-trees_edited Planting Nitrogen-fixing trees

Fr Petero Matairatu sm, Director of Marist Training Centre, Tutu, Fjii, sends this Report:     INTRODUCING SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL FARMING SYSTEMS AT TUTU AND IN ITS CATCHMENT AREA

Soil Health

Soil health is still Tutu's main priority for sustainable expansion of the formation of self-employment training for youth in agriculture. With the lessons learned from the previous soil school program, Tutu has integrated soil health into its course for the formation of young farmers and its staff. The continuous covering of Tutu land with mucuna beans, kaliyandra, drala and bainicagi as nitrogen fixing trees have helped the formation of Tutu's participants as custodian of the land. The aim of covering 60% of the land with the legume plants have shown positive changes in the increase of the production level of the different commodities from Tutu's farm

Integrated soil fertility management system, such as incorporating Mucuna beans (Mucuna pruriens) with Glyricida and Calliandra in an alley cropping is being adopted by the centre as the way forward for a sustainable future in agriculture.

Fr Petero - Left, Br Sefo - Centre, and the Tutu Staff

AGRO-FORESTRY

Teak

Following the recent review and recommendation by Mr Basil Gua, Tutu has made very good progress with its agroforestry program.

Teak and Sandalwood were being incorporated into the Tutu program and steady progress has been witnessed so far. Recent inventory and assessment of TRTC teak plantation allow the need to select good trees with good form of seeds for the on-going tree planting program in Tutu. The teak project has been viewed as a long term income generation. With this understanding Tutu to become self-reliant in sourcing its seeds with the available teak resources. TRTC follow-up activity in developing a clonal seed orchard from the trees selected is been implemented during this period.

Seeds Collection Summary

1kg teak seeds

740 teak seeds

TRTC # 1 teak tree (14kg)

10,360 teak seeds

Using the skills learned from the demonstration seasons with Mr. Basil Gua, the teak team managed to collect 10,360 seeds this year fruiting season

Measuring the Teak

Sandalwood

Review of TRTC projects that sandalwood is planted on an increasing scale on Tutu land since 2012 with seeds source from coastal Vanualevu and Taveuni. Most are growing well especially those that have been planted on wider spacing. Of the current yasi planted on Tutu it is estimated that about half (i.e. 150) will grow well through to maturity. Recently gene conservation has been established at the Sinai block that will help maintain the native species that is highly-priced in the local market. A report is being prepared in regard to the preparation.

Planting Sandalwood trees

 Fruit Trees Development

The continuation of the fruit trees development marks a milestone of TRTC concern on the importance of fruits as part of our daily lives consumption. With the introduction of Dragon fruits and Rambutan it opens up the doors for the importation of other exotic fruits to blend with the local fruits such as soursop, Sapodilla and Abiu just to name a few. The introduction of orchard type development opens up the door for the preservation of the mother plant as a source for planting material that we can continue to supply to our participants when the need arises.

Tutu local coconut - drinks

The involvement of ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation) specialists from India opens up an innovative idea for the development of food products such as fruit drying and spice development. The technical assistance received helps the Tutu food development unit build a sustainable food value and participate in addressing global food challenges. Food preservation and product development can be a way forward for promoting food security. The lesson learned from the training has been replicated to the young farmers as well as the farming couples

Food Products Development Workshop. Br Sefo, left, Br Sai right

TRTC Breadfruit Project     Tutu has been a major contributing factor to the new development of the so-called breadfruit product. Since breadfruit project inception Tutu has contributed to the development of breadfruit from wild sourcing to orchard type through its breadfruit marcotting system and has developed breadfruit today as the crop for the future.

Breadfruit flour - produced in Tutu

The establishment of the Tutu breadfruit boulevard creates more awareness for local farmers that what was used to be food for lazy people is seen as one of the nutritious and glutten free produce. Local health experts have contributed to the development of breadfruit by recommending it as one of the staple diets and can help fight the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCD). Tutu being part of the Pacific Breadfruit Project empowers the development of its new crop by introducing it to its intercropping system where it can be intercropped with other native fruit trees.

Breadfruit Boulevarde

Vegetable Production

Backyard farming has contributed a lot to the development of vegetable and in Tutu, participants are being taught with the technical knowledge of increasing use of vegetables as part of the daily diet as well as a source of short term income for smallholder farmers.

The investment in the irrigation system creates a lot of changes in the production of vegetables by single women, farming couples as well as young farmers participants. The continued support from the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) helps Tutu and its participants diversifying into vegetable productions. The recent report from the farming couples course states that by vegetable farming alone they have earned $8,039.65. This is due to the improved watering system, the using of compost and compost tea as well as the technical advice received from Mr Rohit Lal and Mr. Sant Kumar.

Fr Petero Matairatu and Mr Sant Kumar

Hydro and Solar Development

Tutu is being blessed with the continuous technical assistance received from Mr. Rayner Page. With hydro elements burnt and the border being closed because of COVID 19 Rayner has remotely controlled the hydro system at the same time shopping for hydro parts. Now the parts that have arrived, work for hydro development have started. With the dry spell, the installed solar with inverters have helped the hydro consumption.

The Hydro and Solor systems can monitored from Australia

Governance

Caritas New Zealand's continuous assistance for the establishment of a good governing structure for the Tutu Rural Training Centre formation and operation of the board. TRTC board of directors has met twice this year with two upcoming meetings one in October as well as in December. There has been capacity building for the board in regards to the new change as well as staff development with its on-going staff seminar and activity planning twice during this term. Accountability and visibility of TRTC activity have contributed a lot to Tutu's function as an education provider through non-formal education.

The on-going implementation of the recent recommendation by the review team such as the retention and development of the Marist character; there was atwo days Marist retreat and formation at the beginning of the year and staff capacity building by the Ministry of Agriculture on soil health. In regards to the internationality of TRTC through on-going membership with the Pacific Farmers Organisation Network Tutu managed to run its first-ever farmer's forum for its current participants, staff, and alumnae.

Governance Board: Fr Isaia Wairoga sm - 2nd from Right

TRTC Data Base System

Other in-country support such as the engagement of Traceable Solutions for the creation of TRTC Data Base system has contributed a lot to the on-going monitoring of TRTC's current participants and the alumnae home-based performance. The Data Base is been updated daily by the staff. 

Office Team on Data Base

Women in Agriculture

Other Development is TRTC support for the development of floriculture as a commodity by hosting the floriculture workshop for the development of backyard farming and the engagement of women in agriculture. About 35 women attended the workshop and the idea is been adopted as a course content at the current farming couples course. Tutu was partnered with South Sea Orchids (SSO) and Teitei Taveuni (TTT)

Women in Agriculture - Participants