Lot 3 Labasa Seed Distribution

2013 – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE THROUGH DISTRIBUTION OF SEEDS IN LABASA FOR FOOD SECURITY

Background

After the April 2012 Nadi floods, Ramakrishna Mission distributed 13-16 varieties of seeds to approximately 5,000 flood affected households between Sigatoka and Nadi. The idea was to help people stand on their own feet by growing their own food (instead of depending on handouts) and generating income by selling surplus produce. The programme was very successful with some farmers generating up to $1,200 in three months from a pack of seeds worth only $25. This relief project cost was about $200,000

Seeing the high impact of the seed distribution relief programme in 2012, the Ramakrishna Mission implemented another project in 2013 to serve all the 3,650 cane farmers of Vanua Levu through the distribution of 13 varieties of fruit and vegetable seeds.

 Vegetable Seed Distribution

The Ramakrisha Mission iscurrently distributing seed packages containing 13 varieties of fruit and vegetables to all of the 3,650 cane farmers of Vanua Levu.

Each pack contained ten flowing seeds:

  Crop Approx. No. of Seeds
1 French Beans 100
2 Butter Beans 95
3 Long Bean 150
4 Cowpea (Bora bean) 150
5 Chinese Cabbage 1200
6 Carrot 680
7 Cucumber 100
8 Radish 500
9 Tomatoes 750
10 Eggplant 700
11 Water Melon 26
12 Okra (Bhindi) 120
13 Chilli (Long) 265

The first purpose of this programme is to improve the livelihood of the farmers. Seed distribution will aid in this by helping farmers to stand on their own feet by growing their own food, rather than purchasing it or depending on handouts, and by generating additional income by selling surplus produce.

The second purpose of this programme is to identify at least 100 committed farmers who have demonstrated their capacity and are interested to undergo training to take up commercial vegetable farming on a large scale. These farmers will be targeted for additional support with seeds, training in modern farming practices and marketing of bulk produce.

The seeds are being distributed by the Labasa Cane Producers Association (LCPA) under the supervision of the Fairtrade Coordination Unit (FCU). All cane farmers are listed to receive a pack. Sponsorship for the programme has been provided by the ANZ Bank, Bank of South Pacific (BSP), Bank of Baroda, Resene Paints Ltd and Labasa Cane Producers Association.The seeds were purchased in bulk and repacked by the staff and the Students Council of the Swami Vivekananda College, Nadi as part of community service at the school.   CDP courier services have provided free transportation of the seeds from Nadi to Labasa.

To evaluate the impact of this programme farmers have been requested to fill in a feedback form to be submitted to their LCPA representative by the end of July 2013. Data will then be analyzed to evaluate the full impact of the programme and to see how future programmes can be improved. Using this data and observation, theLCPA will assist in the identification of at least 100 model farmers who have shown the potential to take up commercial large scale farming.

Labasa farmers receiving seed packages

 

Lot 4 Student Home Garden Project

2013 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE THROUGH PROMOTION STUDENT HOME GARDENS

Background to Student Home Garden Project.

After the April 2012 Nadi floods, Ramakrishna Mission distributed 13-16 varieties of seeds to approximately 5,000 flood affected households between Sigatoka and Nadi. The idea was to help people stand on their own feet by growing their own food (instead of depending on handouts) and generating income by selling surplus produce. The programme was very successful with some farmers generating up to $1,200 in three months from a pack of seeds worth only $25. This relief project cost was about $200,000.

Seeing the high impact of previous seed distribution programmes, the Ramakrishna Mission implemented another project in 2013 to serve all the 3,650 cane farmers of Vanua Levu through the distribution of 13 varieties of fruit and vegetable seeds.

The Ramakrishna mission now plans to take this idea to the youth and children all over Fiji and help them discover the joy of growing their own fresh vegetables and earning an income.

Outline

The Ramakrishna Mission will pilot the Student Home Garden project with distribution of seeds to 10,000 students from June 2013 and with aims to reach 50,000 students by the end of the year. Each student will be provided with a seed package containing at least 10 different varieties of the seeds. All the seeds provided are of the ‘Open Pollinated’ type, allowing students to prepare their own seeds from the crops for future planting. Each packet of seeds cost around $15.

Each pack will contain the following seeds:

 

Item Approx.No Seeds

FRENCH BEAN

20

BUTTER BEAN

20

CHINESE CABBAGE

50

CARROT

50

EGGPLANT

50

RADISH

50

TOMATOES

50

CUCUMBER

25

OKRA

50

COWPEA (BORA BEANS)

50
LONG BEANS 50

The first objective of this project is to promote healthier and more sustainable livelihood among students.  Students will learn to stand on their own feet by growing their own food and will sell their fruits and vegetables in order to generate income to pay their 2014 school fees.

The second objective of this project is to introduce students to modern Agriculture techniques and apply the Agricultural Science knowledge they have acquired during school to their home garden. Schools will assist students by teaching them to identify different types of seedlings and providing them with basic gardening instruction. Schools will also set up a model garden on a minimum 5×5 plot.

In order to assist in evaluating the project, students will be shown and required to write a diary regarding the outcomes of the project. Schools that do well may be provided with more varieties of seeds by the Ramakrishna Mission in 2014.

Under the pilot phase, the first batch of schools to receive vegetable seeds will be Swami Vivekananda College,  all the Secondary and primary schools run by the Sangam organization, interested schools from Nadi and Lautoka.

Students from Swami Vivekanda College sorting and packaging seeds for the Student Home Garden Project.