IW:LEARN (Pago Pago, American Samoa) The Pacific Community (SPC) is executing the Pacific Regional International Waters Ridge to Reef Project (IW R2R) sponsored by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. The IW R2R Project has helped identify the Dry Litter Technology (DLT) system as an alternative means of managing pig waste at the source, a system that also produces a soil conditioning compost that in many of the low-lying atoll countries will additionally benefit food security.
Of the 14 countries participating in IW R2R Project, five countries (Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, FSM and Cook Islands) have identified improved pig waste management as a necessary means to reduce pathogen and nutrient loads from entering natural water systems. These countries have previously identified that environmental problems associated with excess nutrient loads associated with improper disposal of animal waste are of significant national concern and are trialling the DLT system in response.
Initiating a new form of animal husbandry is a behavioural change and regulatory control initiative that needs dedicated effort on multiple fronts. The American Samoa Environment Protection Agency (AS-EPA) has worked for over 13 years to develop, build and strengthen their Piggery Compliance Program (PCP), which began as a response to leptospirosis deaths, and has shown sustained benefits in the reduction of nutrient and pathogen loads to natural water systems.
To date they have supported construction of over 150 DLT piggeries that are still in operation. All of this work is supported through federal funding mechanisms, an Interagency Piggery Management Group that meets monthly to discuss problem piggeries and general challenges and successes, and a comprehensive outreach program that educates farmers on use and benefits of the alternative piggery systems.
This Knowledge Exchange event has brought national representatives from Tuvalu, Kiribati, FSM and the Cook Islands to American Samoa for a one week program, from the 7th – 11th of October 2019. The program consists of learning workshops, site visits and roundtable Q&A sessions.