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Agriculture and Rural Development

Fiji: After the rain stops, flood damage will continue to affect islanders

Cameron McFarlane's picture

The flooding has resulted in mass cancellation of tourist travel plans, which will flow through to job losses, business failures and ultimately affect families already suffering from the direct impact of the floods.
Last week, a tropical depression hit Fiji's main island of Viti Levu and caused a rise in sea levels along with torrential rain and devastating flooding. Flooding in and around the towns of Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Raki Raki and Sigatoka ensued. Several days later a second tropical depression dumped further rain on areas already affected. As of Thursday, the rain was still falling and flood waters continued to rise.

So far, at least 11 people have been reported killed, from drowning and mudslides, though given the isolation of many villages, this number is probably much understated.

As would be expected the immediate impact is widespread damage to infrastructure. Homes, public buildings and businesses have been destroyed with around 10,000 people living in evacuation centres. Roads and bridges have been washed away effectively cutting off access for emergency workers and rescue teams. Electricity and water supplies have been cut and food supplies destroyed, washed away or still underwater.

Customary forest, coffee growing and dancing on Buton, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Tony Whitten's picture

Four years ago, the Lambusango Forest project started on Buton in Southeast Sulawesi.  Conservation contracts have included introducing village cooperatives to niche markets (for more, see my previous blog post). This film records parts of the final supervision mission:

Pacific Islands could benefit from cooperative approach to farming

Evelyn Ng's picture

One thing villages in Pacific Island countries can do is to organize the farmers to cultivate the land of participating farmers collectively, increasing manpower and thus improving productivity.
In some Pacific Island countries, such as Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, and Vanuatu, land is fertile and suitable for growing a variety of tropical fruit, vegetable, and root crops. The majority of these populations rely on subsistence agriculture and fishing as their economic mainstay. In some islands, the women and children work the farm while the men fish for the day’s catch. In other islands, the men tend the farm while the women sell the surplus crops in nearby markets.

Land development for commercial agriculture is limited in most of these islands due to issues surrounding communal ownership of land. Take an example of a small farming village in the rural areas near the capital city of Fiji. This village consists of seventy households, of which sixty live below the national poverty line. The head of each household has the right to cultivate a portion of the communal land to feed his family.

Rice is expensive: a blessing or a curse for Cambodia?

Stéphane Guimbert's picture

A rice seller in one of Cambodia's markets. The price of rice, a staple food for Cambodians, has doubled between July 2007 and July 2008.
Last week, I attended a very interesting seminar by the Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI). They presented the result of their recent study on the impact of high food prices (which the World Bank and several others financed). I found the results, presented by CDRI’s Chan Sophal, very interesting, showing the complexity of the question.

The simple reaction is that higher price of food is bad for the poor. CDRI is able to confirm some of this by tracking prices (the price of rice doubled between July 2007 and July 2008) and reminding us that food accounts for two thirds of consumption for a poor family. And there will be little substitution effect to other goods (even within food, most of the caloric intake comes from rice, also very difficult to replace–although CDRI shows that Cambodians in part shifted to lower quality rice to make up for the higher price).

Cambodia's Relative Peace Brings the Challenges of Growth

Stéphane Guimbert's picture

Workers scale one of the skyscrapers under construction in Cambodia.
Last Sunday, more than 8 millions Cambodians were called to vote. This is already the fourth general elections since the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement. Many – including me before I moved to our Phnom Penh office last summer – still connect Cambodia first to what we learned in history classes. The splendor of the Angkor civilization and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime probably come on top of the list. And there is some truth to that. Angkor Wat and its neighboring temples remain magnificent. The Khmer Rouge regime has left deep stigma for the people and for the society. The Khmer Rouge tribunal is attracting a lot of international attention as well. Most landmine fields have been cleared, although there remain some in more remote areas.

But, for all this, this connection more and more misses a key fact: over the last couple of years, Cambodia has achieved a relative peace that has enabled dramatic social and economic change.

Dead as a Doha?

Michael Figueroa's picture

After seven years of fitful trade negotiations, the WTO’s Doha Round has collapsed, and the post mortems have already hit the newsstands.  Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Keith Bradsher points to a new alliance between China and India, both pushing for so-called “safeguard” rules for agriculture, translating int

A closer look at that rotten papaya - facts on food waste

Claudia Gabarain's picture

I'm getting a lot of satisfaction lately from this blog, and here is the very last example: in response to a rather light posting simply calling attention to an ingenious awareness campaign, I received this comment from reader S.Y.

NT2 - Compensating villagers for direct losses from the project

Nanda Gasparini's picture

As I made my way down route 13 last week I wondered how many times I had been to Nam Theun 2 since my first visit in October 2006. I’m certainly not one of the people that go there the most, and yet I could recall at least 20 visits.

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