Soils Training Overview & Goals

Timeline for the Soil Training Program:

  • 4-day survey of Batiki island by OM staff (Mike Smith) 30-60+ days before training (currently scheduled for February within the 1st to the 20th, 2017)
    • Determine number of farmers, locations, current progress, and key people in the three villages
    • Develop specific training program for the island
    • Finalize Training dates with local village leaders and key farmers
    • Engage the Batiki Youth Council (10-25 years of age) to be key participants
  • 4-day Introductory Soils Class (Mike Smith) for a selected group from each village (up to 30 people, not counting Sea Mercy staff) – target date: July 24th-27th
    • Batiki farmers & Sea Mercy volunteers
    • Sea Mercy brings farming tools and equipment to donate to villages (fund raising programs)
  • 21-day preparation for Advanced Class July 31st-Aug 20th (Villagers, volunteers, captains)
    • Local farmers will prepare land (clearing and planting), testing current crops (Brix meter) and preparing proposed VCO and Dilo facilities
    • Sea Mercy Captains & Volunteers (those trained) will offer assistance (not lead) to the locals with the above preparation
    • If funding allows, we can also provide a tractor, motorized hand tillers, chainsaws for help clearing areas for planting
    • Economic Development Training Programs - VCO, Dilo Oil, Sandalwood, etc. preparation and installation should funding be available
  • 4-day Advanced Training Class (Mike Smith) 21 days after Intro Class – August 21st-24th
    • Advanced soils training of the top villager candidates (those who put their training into practice after the intro class)
    • Advanced Training for Sea Mercy volunteers & Captains
  • 2-day Masters Training for select individuals (anytime between August 25th-September 9th)
  • 1-2 week follow-up assistance with local farmers from Sea Mercy volunteers August 28th – September 9th based on available funding and support resources (villagers, volunteers, captains)
    • Planting starters (produce, sandalwood, teak, etc.)
    • Building VCO and Dilo building and dryer sheds for Dilo nuts
    • Harvest first crop of Dilo nuts (the two available picking months for Dilo nuts are September and April)

Key goals/results:

Batiki Island: To restore hope and a future for the remote island people by breaking the emigration cycle of their youth and talent from the islands, become a self-sustaining, healthy, and financially thriving community and an example for other remote islands to imitate.

  • Train the top 30 current and future farmers on Batiki (four villages) to take the lead in the expansion and development of self-sustaining and healthy communities (first food, then income crops, then market development) and replenishing soils through natural composting (no chemical fertilizers)
  • Re-engage and inspire the youth and young adults back into farming. Currently the average age of a farmer in the south Pacific is 60+ years old and the growing perspective from the younger generations is that “only stupid people are farmers”.
  • Provide each student/trainee with the basic tools (hand tools) needed to implement any successful soils based program (food, income, and marketing)
  • Recognition of achievements: Those villagers successfully completing (passing) the Soils School class will receive a diploma of organic agriculture and will be able to teach others (other local islands or as team members of future Sea Mercy soils training teams).
  • To train key local individuals on VCO and Dilo oil harvest, production, and storage techniques.
  • Install the economic development program equipment: coconut scrapers, VCO & Dilo presses, storage containers, drying sheds (Dilo)
  • Develop the marketing and delivery (buyer) of the VCO and Dilo oil production (add to their current fishing deliveries to Suva)

Sea Mercy: The opportunity to demonstrate their belief in the above remote island approach, and then duplicate it on all the ‘at risk’ remote islands across the South Pacific.

  • Active participation in the soils training classes, the land preparation phase, and soils and economic development program implementation by the Sea Mercy leadership and selected Sea Mercy captains (5-10+).
  • The goal is to help Sea Mercy leadership/captains to understand all facets of the soils training program and to develop and refine the training program for future training events (train the trainers). This will enable Sea Mercy to expand the reach of these vital soils based programs to the entire South Pacific as trained vessel captains sail beyond Fiji (Mike Smith is behind this approach).
  • This will also lay the foundation for future and successful Sea Mercy lead Economic Development programs in Fiji and across the South Pacific (income from Produce, VCO, Dilo, Vanilla, Coffee, Sandalwood, Teak, etc.)
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