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The COVID-19 pandemic has made the demand for food safe products worldwide. In the Pacific Region, food safety and nutritious food is in the government’s top priority list. The Fiji 5-20 Year Plan has anchored the need for food safety to provide our people the best provisions it can. While the emphasis is such, one of the leading challenges that we face is the phenomena of Climate Change that has cruelly deprived our access to fertile land and deny proper growth of our food crops.

The SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Region (CCCPIR) has identified six (6) essential impact of climate change on agriculture in Fiji; (1) Loss of soil productivity - Increased temperature and extreme rainfall, alters soil structure, easily triggering erosion, and accelerating nutrient loss. Continuous coastal erosion and contamination of groundwater by saltwater intrusion will cause agricultural soils to become infertile; (2) Declining crop yield - Extreme weather conditions that result in production losses due to high heat stress, prolonged drought conditions, frequent water logging and inundation, severe flooding of river catchments and increasing soil erosion; (3) Introduction of new pests & diseases - Changes in rainfall patterns, increasing temperature and wind direction could result in the establishment and introduction of pests and diseases in new areas threatening crop production; (4) Land degradation and desertification - With projected increase in extremely high daily temperatures and more severe drought conditions, land degradation will escalate and dry lands will be more prone to desertification; (5) Reduced water quality and supply - Saltwater intrusion caused by sea-level rise would eventuate in the contamination of freshwater lenses. This would deteriorate the quality of water needed by plants and animals and reduce freshwater supply; and (6) Change in cropping season - Climatic variability will affect the traditional seasonal calendars that most farmers in the Pacific follow. Crops such as yam which is normally planted on the onset of wet season may not receive the anticipated rain due to a prolonged dry season. This highlights the need for different crop varieties to cope with the different weather conditions and the introduction of alternative crops.

 

Joes Farm Climate Resilience Innovative Agriculture (CRISA) has nominated its first resilience package in the Hydroponic Home Kit (HHK) Programme to empower Fijians and Pacific Islanders to provide food adequately, mitigating climate challenges and nutritional issues, providing fresh and healthy quality crops for their families.

 

I therefore wish to introduce the HHK Programme and hope that our Pacific Community benefits from this initiative.

Joes Farm Produce Limited is a family owned and operated business. Established and designed into a Fijian context of marketing outlet for family farming fraternity, the Company’s prudence paves its way into new horizons to create agriproduction dimensions of farming, translating the conventional approach into new revolutionize practices. The seed of hydroponic was nursed in early 1990s and nurtured its hydroponic farming, and grew to what is known to be “Joes Farm Hydroponic Farms” today.  

The neo-agriculture approach found its success as the family farming system converted a portion of its practice from traditional farming methods to hydroponic system, drastically reducing the previous area of cultivation, increasing the yield per square meter and increasing the number of yields per annum anat the same time reducing production costs. In many areas of commercial crop production, hydroponics can help increase farm profits.

Joes Farm Produce Limited saw the robust approach as essential to global warming and climate change issues that it took the initiative to establish a sister Company to look deeper into the development of hydroponic farming system in Fiji and the Pacific – this is where Hydroscape Pacific Limited found its form and became a hydroponic farming and greenhouse stalwart in the Pacific. Today, with more than thirty (30) years, Hydroscape Pacific Limited has provided hydroponic farming and greenhouse/tunnel cloche consultancy, designing farms/greenhouses, construction of greenhouse/tunnel cloche structures, hydroponic farming tutoring, incubating farmers/hydroponic farming technicians, and providing hydroponic farming management for newly installed hydroponic farms in Fiji and the Pacific Region.

The need to translate hydroponic farming from commercial practice to subsistence food and nutrition security approach becomes more demanding in the wake of the wide-spread in NCDs and obese in the Pacific. Our dietary is slowly eroding due to the invasion of westernized food spread in fast-cook and takeaways, losing the nutritious values that were pillars of Pacific food stalls. 

Joes Farm CRISA however offers a re-alignment of our pathway towards food and nutrition security in the comfort of our homes where HHK can exist to engineer the restructure of our dietary to healthy food for our wellbeing.  Joes Farm CRISA will assist in new farm design and farm conversion and can provide operational training and ongoing professional advice at all stages. The HHK system can be supplied as a complete system right though to the ongoing supply of nutrients or components of your choice.

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Hydroponic is a soilless but water-based farming of crops. It is a subset of hydroculture – a method of growing plants without soil but using mineral nutrient-solution in water. The plants may be grown with their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid or roots physically supported by gravel or pebbles as a passive medium substrate.

Hydroponic plants grow around 30 per cent faster, they generally produce a higher yield, without you don’t need to worry about over or under-watering your plants (meaning they won’t die if you forget to water them for a month) and you can grow seasonal plants, such as strawberries and tomatoes, all year round.

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Controlled Environment

  • HHK enables you to leave the open field and produce in a safe controlled environment and under your watchful eyes in a shade or even around your back verandah for easy access.

  • HHK brings about a new agriculture revolution in a more exciting way where the whole family enjoys the stages of crop growth in a convenient environment.

Food Safety

  • Safe production of fresh food for short cycle crops with three essential phases – growing, production on water and ergonomic harvesting.

  • Definitely the use of pesticides can be limited under the controlled environment. This residues or eve eliminates the threat of chemical residues that usually occur from applying pesticides to crops.

Cutting Edge - Sustainability 

  • Savings in Fertilizer: Fertilizer stays in the system and not drained out in the field as occur in the traditional growing method.

  • Water Efficiency – The system in very water efficient as water does not flush out where it will be consumed by the crop and needs to be added daily

  • Uniformity: each product has the same water intake which creates a uniform result.

  • Sustainable: the soil does not need to be processed after every cycle.

  • Efficiency: Possibility of growing all year around;

                                                                                       SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate                

                                                                            Change in the Pacific Region (CCCPIR)

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Hydroponics home farming might be better known for mini-scale urban farming and has revolutionising horticulture at home. It’s easy to see that growing hydroponically allows those without gardens to grow food inside, fuss-free, mess-free and all year round. In the HHK approach, it is simply the process of growing plants directly suspended in nutrient-rich and perfectly pH-balanced water. Hydroponic farming “en masse” is on the rise in urban areas, but now it’s entering the do-it-at-home market.

JFCRISA HHK considers this initiative as the best alternative for urban dwellers given their commitment to long working hours and the little space, they have to practice any potential backyard gardening. In Fiji, the 2019 census recorded a 56% of population in urban areas. This represents that 492,800 people relies on rural farming communities for their food crop demands. With close 5,000 workers made redundant or terminated due to COVID-19 pandemic, the need to grow their own food in urban areas is paramount.

GROW YOUR OWN VEGETABLES
IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

JFCRISA Hydroponics have designed a hydroponic system for the home use. Called "HHK", the hydroponic system takes up a minimum of space, measuring just 3 metres in length and only 1.42 metres wide. Table legs are adjustable, so you can adjust to optimum level to suit your individual height.

The JFCRISA Systems Home Table comprises of six lengths of 120x53mm oval channel, each with twelve 50mm holes for growing produce. All up that's 72 plants you can have under cultivation at one time...all growing in your own suburban back yard.

There's no end to what you could grow at home to feed the family. All with high nutritional value and chemical free.

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This is a Short-term training three-days Course designed for interested individuals who have a passion and desire to participate in the beginners training Programme for Hydroponic Farming

Farming.

The above is a eight-module training package that will set the foundation knowledge of hydroponic farming. The training will also see hands-on practical experience in the Joes Farm Hydroponic Farming setup at its Colo-i-suva Lake Farm. For the take-home HHK, the training will be the essential component of your success.