Australian Government, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, logo. Final Report.

Project final report

Improving soil health, agricultural productivity and food security on atolls - Final Report

Date released
23 December 2021
Publication Code

Siosiua Halavatau, Geoff Dean, Graham Lyons, Gibson Susumu, Kabuati Nakabuta, Selotia George, Matio Lonalona Routan Tongaiaba, Tokintekai Bakineti, Sanfred Smith


This project aimed to improve 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 like diabetes, heart disease and micronutrient deficiencies, are increasingly evident because of low awareness of the effect of poor diet.

Diets in Kiribati and Tuvalu have traditionally been based on fish and other marine animals, heavy on starch 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.

Building capacity of key stakeholders ensured soil constraints were addressed and enabled households of Kiribati and Tuvalu to produce starchy staples and nutritious food was key to achieving food security.

Project 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.
  • Identified and developed a fresh produce value chain for sale of surplus food production.