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Soil and Land Management

Improving soil health, agricultural productivity and food security on atolls

Project Code: SMCN/2014/089
Research Program Manager: Dr. James Quilty
Project Leader: Siosiua Halavatau - Secretariat of the Pacific Community
OCT 2015
DEC 2019
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Map of region showing Tuvalu and Kiribati
Key partners
Department of Agriculture
Ministry of Environment
Lands & Agriculture Development
University of Adelaide
University of Tasmania


This project is improving the livelihoods of the people living in the coral atolls of Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Atolls of the Pacific islands are among the most vulnerable communities to the impacts of climate change and are facing major challenges to their food and income security.

Malnutrition is a significant concern and non-communicable diseases (diabetes, heart disease and micronutrient deficiencies) are increasingly evident as awareness of the effect of poor diet is low. Diets in Kiribati and Tuvalu have traditionally been based on fish and other marine animals and heavy on starch (giant swamp taro and breadfruit), with some fruits but few vegetables. Agricultural production in both countries is restricted by lack of seeds, water shortages and salinity, poor soils, and lack of tools and knowledge of farming practices, and limited guidance from extension services. As a result of limited agricultural production, Kiribati and Tuvalu consume more than they produce.

In order to achieve food security on atolls, there is a need to address the above critical issues by building capacity of key stakeholders to ensure soil constraints are addressed in order for the households of Kiribati and Tuvalu to produce starchy staples and nutritious food.

Expected outcomes

  • Improved food production systems for starchy staples resilient to harsh atoll conditions using integrated pest and soil management. 
  • Documented information generated by the project on how to organically grow, manage, prepare and preserve nutritious vegetables/fruits in household and school gardens.
  • Identification and development of a fresh produce value chain for sale of surplus food production. The mass balance of nutrients will be incorporated into the value chain analyses.