Food security could be helped with simple home hydroponic farming methods.
The Solomon Islands like its neighbouring Pacific Island countries, such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Kiribati, Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru and the Cook Islands, are coping with two enemies – climate change and the threat of coronavirus.
The recent passage of Tropical Cyclone Harold through the region left in its wake much property damage, flooding, loss of food gardens and some tragic deaths.
The aftermath of the cyclone has left many homeless, especially in Vanuatu, and the loss of crops caused widespread food shortages
Food security is taking on greater importance in the Solomon Islands and perhaps why the National Agriculture and Livestock Development Centre (NARLDC) in Honiara has seen large queues of people, reportedly more than 300 individuals, wanting vegetable seedlings.
I am not familiar with NARLDC’s growing centre but imagine there must be a limit on its capacity to raise seedlings and to give them out in times of emergency, such as followed the situation in Guadalcanal after the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Harold and especially when the country is coping with the threat imposed by Covid-19 and is essentially in a lock-down situation.
I have frequently written about the value of hydroponic farming methods and again raise the subject in the hope that hydroponic methods could alleviate food shortages at home by following simple, cost effective methods.
Some twenty two years ago a Honiara resident gave me a bag of large, super tasty tomatoes which he said he had grown at home in a bag of sawdust.
He explained the sawdust was fed with a cheap nutrient solution and kept moist.
Seedlings and many other vegetable crops, especially salad varieties, can be grown successfully by hydroponics in many kinds of growing mediums, including sawdust.
I have often been asked whether a nutrient solution could be made at home to save on costs. The simple answer is yes. Here is what is needed.
To make your own hydroponic fertilizer, acquire some standard water-soluble fertilizer (perhapsNARLDC could supply free Make sure the type you get includes the micronutrients, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, nitrogen and sulfur.
Add just two teaspoons of this fertilizer to each gallon of water you need and mix well.
Advice on hydroponic farming methods one can adopt at home can be easily obtained via the internet, including details and illustrations of the simple containers used. U-Tube also gives valuable illustrations and advice.