DEAR EDITOR, some months ago I wrote to your newspaper that the residents at Langa Langa Lagoon, given the difficulty they faced in growing and cultivating food crops in the absence of soil on their artificial islands of stone and coral, might consider growing vegetables hydroponically.
I don’t know if my suggestion was ever taken up and it would be interesting to know whether hydroponics is practiced at Langa Langa or anywhere in the Solomons.
I wrote in my piece at the time that I had seen the wide scale practice of vegetable and fruit production being successfully grown hydroponically on the volcanic island of Ascension in the midst of the South Atlantic.
I also mentioned at least one Honiara resident having demonstrated to me how he had grown some very tasty tomatoes in a bag of sawdust and with limited amounts of a rich nutrient solution mixed with water.
Kiribati is a close neighbour suffering the drastic encroachment of sea water induced by climate change and the loss of land to grow food crops.
To overcome this problem, according to Radio New Zealand, a Kiribati man has come up with an ambitious target to get every family in Kiribati growing plants and vegetables hydroponically.
Eritai Kateibwi launched his business with 500 hydroponic units using a UN start-up grant he won last year.
He said in just one month, he has installed 20 units for more than 10 families and has helped train them up.
“That’s our vision, we want to install at least two units per family and it will go really fast if we get the word out there right now.”
Eritai Kateibwi said he first learned about hydroponics when studying in the United States.
Hydroponic units are readily made at home from simple materials such as wooden boxes, plastic trays, pipes and even sacks are used. Units can be constructed in racks and take up very little space.
I would like to suggest that the idea of getting a UN grant to set up a commercial hydroponic farm be considered by an individual or community group in the Solomon Islands, especially in areas of the country where it has become difficult to grow vegetables normally due to the onset of climate changes and sea water intrusion.