Interior rural remote communities in Fiji are largely reliant upon their forests and crops as their primary income sources. In the wake of ongoing natural disasters, climatic impacts and poor land management practices, their livelihoods become threatened.
Spending time along the Nakorotubu Coast, more than four years post Cyclone Winston; we are still struck by the immense amount of cyclone debris along the coast and other forest areas. The region is home to Fiji’s largest concentration of mangroves and one of the largest coconut plantations in the western division. In the South Pacific, Fiji has the third largest concentration of mangroves, so this region is quite significant in terms of its ecological outputs to the region’s marine breeding grounds and more.
Immediately after the cyclone, various aid players in Fiji move into highly impacted areas to operationalize their relief plans, there are few efforts focused on sustainable income generation. As always, in the wake of the storm, the major focus is on emergency food, shelter, rebuilding of homes and replanting. For Nakorotubu communities – the replanting is primarily food security only, not for selling. The primary income sources for Nakorotubu coastal villages are coconuts, fish and some seasonal fruit sales to generate cash. The coconut and fish income are impacted for quite some time. What we also became acutely aware of is the abundance of salvageable debris in this region, which is where the opportunity lies.
What are the options to continue post cyclone debris harvest?
- Salvage debris from logging sites, benefitting landowners
- Salvaging of coconut debris from copra (coconut) industry
- Sugar cane debris from post harvest