Backyard gardens in Fiji
07 April, 2012
Project participants from Naviyago Village, including Adi Sereana Naika (right).
Photo: Maggie Boyle, AusAID
by Maggie Boyle, AusAID.
With more than 50 per cent
of Fiji's population living in
urban settlements and increasing
rates of poverty, food security is
People are migrating from rural
townships to urban areas and the growing
peri-urban population (those living on
the urban fringes) face economic
challenges such as finding employment
to securing housing.
Informal settlements, also known as
squatter settlements, litter the outskirts of
Fiji's main cities.
An Australian-supported project is
teaching communities in peri-urban areas
to grow fresh food to eat and, in some
cases, to sell for income.
the Foundation for Rural Enterprises
and Development (FRIEND) runs the
backyard garden project. The project
teaches different types of gardening. For
example, communities by the sea find sea
crabs getting into their gardens, so they've
been shown how to build raised and
hanging gardens. There's also training
on building and cultivating garden beds,
crop rotation and planting a wide range
Salome Silikia is a single mother
of three from the Nasowata settlement
where 300 people struggle to get by. Salome took part in the program and has
grown her own household garden.
'Having my own garden in the little
land that I share with my father has seen
good changes in our family, especially
the food we eat. I have learnt to plant
capsicum, eggplant, pawpaw, bele and
rourou here. All of which I can feed my
Adapting to climate change is also
integrated into the project's mix. FRIEND
trains participants to preserve food by
smoking and drying fish. Participants
have also learned to make cooking flours
with some seasonal crops.
Project officer Vive Liutaki has
been working with community groups
in informal settlements over the last
'We go out to the communities and
assess their needs. If they are looking
at ways of improving their standard of
living, we work with them on a six–
module program, which includes food
security, disaster management and
income generation to name a few.'
While food security has been an
integral part of the program, earning
an income and budgeting have become
Adi Sereana Naika, from Naviyago
Village, said: 'I don't go to the market
anymore, I plant what I need. Even
though my husband has a salary earning
$30 to $40, now I can manage to save
$10 to $20 from doing my gardening,
selling the extras here in the village and at
the nearby school.'
Last Reviewed: 16 June, 2011