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Fiji introduces Vetiver system to deal with soil erosion

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Staff Writer | September 22, 2018
Riverbank erosion is becoming prevalent in Fiji, threatening communities and livelihoods of people, the Fijian government said on Friday.
Riverbank erosion Fiji
Pacific   The frequency of flooding increased
According to a Fijian government statement, that is why Fiji's Ministry of Waterways and Environment said they were implementing a program on an integrated approach using green technologies for riverbank stabilization, coastal and environmental protection.

A consultation and awareness program in Nawaka Village, Nadi, the third largest city in Fiji, was undertaken by Josivini Sausauwai, a Fijian Environment Officer at the Ministry of Waterways and Environment recently on the use of Vetiver for stabilizing river bank.

This was after the Nawaka villagers had expressed their concerns regarding excessive soil erosion and highlighted the loss of arable land over time.

They also mentioned that the frequency of flooding increased due to the reduced conveyance capacity of the river from siltation often caused extensive damage to farms, crops, and properties.

Over the past 10 years, the river bank had been completely shifted, said Nawaka Village headman Mosese Ronakuru who has a farm along the river bank which has been affected heavily due to erosion said after the recent flooding the river carved its route through his farm.

The Fijian government will commence the River Bank Protection Program using the Vetiver Grass through a pilot project in Tailevu and Nawaka, Nadi.

This will be a community-based project, where affected communities will be empowered to take the lead through Vetiver systems to address river bank erosion at a community level.

The government said that the villagers have shown their enthusiasm for this project.

This is an internationally proven methodology to deal with riverbank destabilization and related environmental concerns.

The Fijian government warned that soil erosion results in loss of land and these problems increase if there is no effective erosion control in place.