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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rise in human population affects soil fertility in North Malaita

By Moffat Mamu

Parts of Malaita are now experiencing intensified land use due to increase population - a concern that needs to be addressed.

Searim Niu Plant Blo Gaden project manager Tikai Pitakia revealed this after last week’s Diversity Fair in Takwa, North Malaita.

Mr Pitakia said the extensive use of land could result in unfertile soil which resulted in low crop yields.

“This is now becoming a major problem in some locations such as North Malaita and many small islands,” he said.

He said in order for the growing population to have food high yielding variety of crops or crop diversification must be introduced.

Mr Pitakia said subsistence food production subsidized the economy and made vital contributions to the welfare of the nation, especially those dwelling in rural areas.
He said most food consumed by rural villagers are grown by themselves in their food gardens.

Other important sources of food are coconuts, fish, marine produces, shellfish, mangroves, fruits and nuts.

Mr Pitakia said sweet potato is by far the most important source of food energy in Solomon Islands which contributed an estimated 65 percent of locally grown staple food.

Other important food crops are cassava, banana, kongkong taro, island taro, coconut, pana and yam.

Mr Pitakia said the production of these staple food crops is estimated to be about 430,000 tonne per year, which is conservatively valued at $411million per year.

Source: Solomon Star

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