To promote food security and community well-being, the Nauru Ridge to Reef Project introduced Kitchen Gardens.
Nauru R2R Project Coordinator Phaedora Harris said: “Nauru imports 90% of its food requirements from abroad, and a household survey was conducted by the R2R team in 2016 to identify interests in establishing kitchen gardens.” The survey confirmed that a significant number of households are interested in starting their own kitchen gardens due to food security, health and affordability reasons.
“The purpose of the kitchen garden is to supply households with culinary herbs, fruits, and vegetables providing readily accessible food sources for families,” she explained.
To contributing to Global Environment Facility’s Sustainable Land and Water Management focal area strategies, the project encourages community households in the pilot districts to establish their own kitchen gardens.
To support the introduction of kitchen gardens, Nauru R2R designated a Technical Support Officer (TSO) in each of the 5 pilot district including: Buada, Meneng, Anabar, Ijuw and Anibare to prepare kitchen beds, mix soils and mulch, seedlings and transplanting. The TSO and pilot communities are also supported by the Department of Agriculture.
The kitchen gardens in the 5 pilot areas vary depending on their environmental conditions. The districts of Anabar, Ijuw and Anibare are located near the coast, and the ground soil condition is sandy and rocky which makes it challenging to prepare the kitchen beds. To improve yield, mulch and super compost is used. A green house is also built to protect the garden from the sea breeze.
Depending on the size of the land, a kitchen garden bed is on average four-feet wide and 8-12 feet long with a depth of at least 6 inches. There are three to four variety of food crops planted in the gardens, including at least 3 varieties of fruit trees planted within boundaries of the landowner’s compound. For the Meneng and Buada districts, ground soil condition is rich and healthy.
Every pilot district is scheduled to complete 15 kitchen gardens before the end of the Project in September 2020. Currently, 83 kitchen gardens have built exceeding the project’s target of 75. Almost 400 fruit trees and over 1200 food crops were distributed to the 5 pilot districts.
Food crop yield is affected by animal intrusion and lack of water, however, it was discovered that food crops such as sweet potato, papaya, banana, egg plants and chilly have a high survival rate including fruit trees namely coconut dwarf, breadfruit and pandanus. As a result of this activity, most farmers have improved with their skills and are better equipped to maintain and improve their kitchen gardens.