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close this bookAgroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability (UNU, 1993, 297 pages)
View the documentPreface
close this folder1 Introduction
View the documentContext of the study
View the documentGeographical background
View the documentDefinition of terms
View the documentDeforestation and agrodeforestation in the Pacific
View the documentOrganization of the study
close this folder2 Pacific Island agroforestry: Functional and utilitarian diversity
View the documentIntegration and sustainability
View the documentDiversity of function
View the documentBases for innovation and sustainability
View the documentAgroforestry and national development goals
View the documentExisting models and the need for appropriate innovation
close this folder3 Agroforestry in Melanesia: Case-studies from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
View the documentA note on Melanesia
View the documentHighland fringe, Papua New Guinea
View the documentKologhona village, Weather Coast, Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands
View the documentBuma village, West Kwara'ae, Malaita, the Solomon Islands
View the documentThe south-eastern Solomon Islands
close this folder4 Agroforestry in Melanesia: Case-studies from Vanuatu and Fiji
View the documentAgroforestry on Aneityum and Tanna, Vanuatu
View the documentFijian agroforestry at Namosi and Matainasau
View the documentA listing of agroforestry components in the landscapes of Namosi and Matainasau
close this folder5 Agroforestry in Polynesia
View the documentA note on Polynesia
View the documentTongatapu island, Tonga
View the documentRotuma island, Fiji
View the documentRarotonga and Aitutaki, the Cook Islands
View the documentThe Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia The Marguesas Islands, French Polynesia
close this folder6 Agroforestry in Micronesia
View the documentA note on Micronesia
View the documentTraditional agroforestry in the high islands of Micronesia
View the documentAtoll agroforestry on Tarawa and Abemama, Kiribati
close this folder7 Pacific Island urban agroforestry
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHome-garden urban agroforestry
View the documentUrban agroforestry on undeveloped land
View the documentProblems of urban agroforestry
View the documentIntegrating agroforestry into urban planning and policy
View the document8 Agroforestry on smallholder sugar-cane farms in Fiji
close this folder9 Institutional agroforestry in the Pacific Islands
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntercropping of tree crops/woody perennials with commercial or subsistence ground or tree crops
View the documentPlanting of timber, fuel wood, and general-purpose trees in relation to agroforestry and agriculture
View the documentGrazing with commercial tree cropping and silviculture
View the documentThe future of institutional agroforestry in the Pacific
close this folder10 Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for sustainability
View the documentSmallholder farmers and the larger community, individual land holdings and the landscape: The agroforestry predicament
View the documentThe component trees
View the documentEncouraging agroforestry
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (1)
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (2)
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (3)
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (4)
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (5)
View the documentAppendix One hundred Pacific Island agroforestry trees (6)
View the documentReferences (A-E)
View the documentReferences (F-R)
View the documentReferences (S-Z)
View the documentContributors

8 Agroforestry on smallholder sugar-cane farms in Fiji

Official neglect of traditional polycultural agroforestry systems can be seen as the opposite side of the coin of official emphasis on and encouragement of commercial monocropping, commercial production of livestock, and industrial forestry. And yet, as surveys of smallholder sugar-cane farms in Fiji demonstrate, small-scale commercial operations can maintain a diversity of useful trees in a landscape primarily dedicated to monocropping.

As a legacy of over a century of sugar-cane cultivation and emphasis on cash cropping for export, much of the drier western and northern sides of Fiji's two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are landscapes of smallholder cane farms (typically 4 ha in size), farmed mostly by the descendants of indentured workers from India. Homes are usually located on farms so that settlement is dispersed in contrast to the nucleated villages of the indigenous Fijians.

Although production has long been strongly focused on sugar cane (and to a considerably weaker degree on annual subsistence crops such as rice, pulses, maize, and a variety of vegetables), Indian farmers have traditionally planted or encouraged a wide variety of trees around their houses, as well as on grazing lands, river banks, and along roads and boundaries. Unfortunately, because of high world sugar market prices and a deliberate policy of the Fiji Government to increase sugar-cane production (Fiji's number one source of foreign exchange) in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, farmers extended their cane planting onto grazing lands, to the edges of rivers and drainage ditches, secondary forest stands, and areas formerly reserved for rice and other crops. The process resulted in widespread agro deforestation and resultant overexploitation of existing firewood and timber reserves and grazing land, thus tightening the causal circle of agrodeforestation, overgrazing, and plundering of scarce fuel-wood resources.

Ali's (1986) in-depth study of 26 smallholder sugar-cane farms near Tavua in northern Viti Levu showed that in the study area of 146.3 ha the land under sugar cane increased from 78.7 ha (54 per cent) in the early 1970s to 107.6 ha (74 per cent) in 1982. Associated with, and facilitating, the increase in sugar-cane monoculture were: uncontrolled felling of trees, often with bulldozers, on grazing lands, and along farm edges and river courses, to make room for more sugar cane; a decline in the cultivation of rice and vegetables on separate plots and as intercrops with sugar cane; and a decline in livestock husbandry.

Whereas in 1971, all 26 households planted vegetables and spices on separate plots, or as intercrops with sugar cane, away from the home site, by 1982, only 17 farmers (65 per cent) planted vegetables (3 on separate plots, 5 as intercrops with cane, and 9 with both). In the past, most farmers had set aside pieces of land for vegetable gardens, normally on the alluvial soils along river flood plains and near wells, but extension of sugar-cane plantings into these areas forced most farmers to move their vegetable plots to their home allotments (24 of the 26 farmers had allotments for a house on raised ground at a distance from their farm land).

The loss of the trees scattered in the landscape meant a loss of ornamentation, timber, shade for livestock, fruit, edible leaves, living fences, green manure, wood for handicrafts, food for livestock, medicines, and fuel. The ecological stability of the sugar-cane landscapes was also lessened as the trees had served to enrich soil, to control erosion, and as wind-breaks. The only beneficial effect was that, in the face of increasing agrodeforestation and pressure on remaining tree resources, farmers were forced and, in some cases, encouraged to increase tree planting around their home compounds. A survey of trees on sugar-cane farms throughout Viti Levu, Fiji, in 1985 provided an inventory of several score of tree species protected or cultivated around residences, the most common being coconut, mango, papaya, the drumstick, or horseradish, tree (Moringa oleifera), curry leaf (Murraya koenigii), Citrus spp., tamarind, monkey-pod (Samanea saman), soursop, and Albizia lebbeck (table 9).

As pressure increases for monocultural crop production, and as large tracts of rural land become increasingly scarce or the population of the rural landless increases, the relative importance of rural home gardens in the provision of food, culturally useful products, and ecological benefits will increase. Greater official recognition of, and support for, rural home-garden agroforestry alongside monocultural agriculture could help to stem the processes of rural agrodeforestation.

Table 9 Names and relative importance of tree species found on sugar-cane farms, western Viti Levu, Fiji, between Sigatoka and Tavua, 1985-1986. (Under "local names," I = Indian, F = Fijian; under "importance," 5 = found on 75-100% of farms, 4 = 50-74%, 3 = 25-49%, 2 = 10-24%, and 1 = <10%)

Scientific name Common names Local names Importance
Acacia farnesiana Ellington's curse ban baburi (I); vaivaivakovotona (F) 3
Aegle marmelos bel apple bel, bael (I) 1
Albizia lebbeck siris tree, white monkey-pod, woman's tongue siris (I); vaivai (F) 3
Anacardaum Occidentale Cashew supardi (I) 1
Annona muricata Soursop salifa (I); seremaia (F) 4
Annona squamosa sweetsop, sugar apple sitafal (I); sermaia (F) 2
Artocarpus altilis Breadfruit uto (I and F) 3
Artocarpus heterophyllus Jakfruit katthar (I) 2
Averrhoa carambola carambola kamrakh (I); wind Idia (F) 2
Azadirachta indica margosa tree nim, neem (I) 2
Bambusa vulgaris Bamboo baas (I); bitu ni vavalagi (F) 1
Bauhinia monandra pink butterfly tree, pink orchid tree   1
Bischofia javanica Java cedar koka, togotogo (F) 1
Brassaia actinophylla Queensland umbrella Tree   1
Carica papaya Pawpaw pipita (I); weleti, maoli (F) 5
Cassia fistula golden shower tree, Indian laburnum, pudding-pipe tree   2
Cassia glauca scrambled egg tree   1
Cassia grandis pink shower, horse cassia sirsa (I); vaivai (F) 3
Cassia javanica pink and white shower tree vaivai (F) 3
Casuarina equisetifolia Casuarina, ironwood jhau (I); nokonoko (F) 3
Ceiba pentandra Kapok rui (I); vauvau (F) 3
Chrysophyllum Cainito star apple   1
Citrus aurantiifolia lime nabbu kaghdi (I); laimi, mold laimi (F) 5
Citrus grandis pommelo; shaddock chakotra (I); moli kana (F) 1
Citrus hystrix rough lemon khatta nabbu (I); moli karokaro (F) 2
Citrus limon lemon khatta nabbu (I); moli karokaro (F) 2
Citrus reticulata mandarin narangi (I); mold madirini (F) 3
Citrus sinensis orange mitha nabbu (I); moli, moli Tahiti (F) 2
Citrus xx hybrid suncrest (hybrid) nabbu (I); moli karokaro (F) 1
Cocos nucifera coconut narial (I); niu (F) 5
Cordia dichotoma sebesten plum lasora, lasoda (I) 3
Delonix regia poinciana, flame tree sekoula (F) 2


dragon plum tarawau (F) 1
Erythrina variegata coral tree, dadap drala (F) 1
Eucalyptus citriodora lemon-scented gum   2
Eucalyptus deglupta gum tree   2
Eucalyptus sp. eucalyptus   1
Eugenia brasiliense Brazil cherry sinaili, oula, amla, aula (I) 1
Ficus benjamina Benjamin tree pakar (I); baka (F) 1
Ficus obliqua native banyan pakar (I); baka (F) 1
Gliricidia septum madre de cacao sirsa (I); ba ni cagi (F) 3
Hibiscus tiliaceus hibiscus tree vau (F) 1
Intsia bijuga ipil vesi (F) 1
Jatropha curcas physic nut bakrera (I); wiriwiri (F) 1
Leucaena leucocephala leucaena vaivai (F) 4
Mangifera indica mango aam (I); ma-to (F) 5
Manilkara achras sapodilla   1
Morinda citrifolia beach mulberry achi (I); kura (F) 2
Moringa oleifera horseradish tree, drumstick tree seijan, saijan (I) boro ni Idia (F) 5
Murraya koenigii curry leaf, Indian bay leaf tej patti (I) 5
Musa AAA diploid banana kera (I); jaina (F) 2
Musa AAB triploid lady finger banana liga ni marama (F) 3
Musa ABB triploid bluggoe, blue Java bata (F) 1
Pandanustectorius pandanus, screwpine balawa, vadra (F) 1
Peltophorum pterocarpum golden poinciana sirsa (I); vaivai (F) 1
Pinus caribaea Caribbean pine paint (F) 2
Pithecellobium dulce Madras thorn kukafalli, kataiya (I) 3
Plumeria obtusa frangipani, plumeria bna (F) 2
Plumeria rubra frangipani, plumeria bua (F) 3
Psidium guajava guava amrood (I); quwnwa (F) 3
Puncia granatum pomegranate anar (I) 2
Samanea saman pod rain tree, monkey- sirsa (I); vaivai (F) 5
Spathodea campanulata African tulip tree   1
Spondias dulcis Polynesian vi-apple, Polynesian plum amra (I); wi (F) 2
Syzygium cumini Jambolan jamun (I); kovika ni Idia 2
Tamarindus indica Tamarind imli (I); tamarind (F) 5
Thevetia peraviana yellow oleander kandel (I) 2
Ziziphus jujuba Chinese jujube ber (I) 2
Ziziphus mauritiana Indian jujube baher, bair (I) 1

Source: Field surveys by the authors, 1985-1986.