A farmer in Kadavu ditched chemical fertilisers in 2012 and never regretted the decision, reaping more than he used to, urging more farmers to follow suit.
Fifty-four-year-old Taniela Kama’s choice did not go unnoticed when he was awarded the 2020 Farmer of the Year Award (Central/Eastern) during the agriculture show in Nausori last month.
However, for the Tavuki villager, the recognition was not the catalyst for his change of heart, but the need to reverse the negative impacts of chemicals fertilisers on his land. As such, timely was the support he received from the Ministry of Agriculture in 2011 with the provision of a shed, 300 layer birds, and chicken feed to start his poultry business. He then mixes the chicken waste with goat waste for animal manure which was then mixed with food waste from a compost pit he had dug, to feed his 10-acre land on which he grows vegetables, yaqona, and yasi.
“The message I have been saying, is for farmers to use organic fertiliser on their produce because it is not only safe for consumers of those commodities but it is also safe for the environment,” he said.
“That is why I have been promoting compost pits for all villages.”
He said he ventured into poultry farming because nothing was wasted and all was recycled back into the soil, making it healthy, allowing his produce to thrive.
Kama now sells his organic manure to other farmers on the island. He will be harvesting 6,000 yaqona plants in the first quarter next year. He supplies 150 eggs weekly to a supermarket on Kadavu.