Major Soil Initiatives

Land Resources Survey of Tuvalu – University of Auckland/FAO/UNDP - 1980s

The soils of Tuvalu received limited in 1981 when the University of Auckland was engaged by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to undertake a Land Resources Survey of Tuvalu (funded by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP).

The project aimed "to carry out a land resources survey of all the land in Tuvalu to provide adequate information for planning the future use of the country with emphasis on agricultural development" by gathering, mapping and interpreting data on present land use; landform and soil survey, and sufficient soil analyses to characterize the main soil series; preliminary investigation of the nature of groundwater, water quality and drainage; which together would feed into an assessment of land capability, showing the suitability of the land for relevant agricultural purposes.

The soils were classified according to the FAO/UNESCO (1974) legend mainly as Calcaric Regosols; data available in some cases is insufficient to fully classify the soils by Soil Taxonomy. Tuvalu soils have udic soil moisture regimes in the absence of groundwater influence and most will therefore, be Tropopsamments (Regosols) or Troporthents ( Lithosols). Insufficient detail on colour and structure prevents the confirmation of mollic epipedons and hence the presence of Mollisols.

Improving soil health, agricultural productivity and food security on atolls - SPC/ACIAR - 2014

Agricultural production in both countries is restricted by lack of seeds, water shortages and salinity, poor soils, and lack of tools and knowledge of farming practices, and limited guidance from extension services. As a result of limited agricultural production, Kiribati and Tuvalu consume more than they produce.

In order to achieve food security on atolls, there is a need to address the above critical issues by building capacity of key stakeholders to ensure soil constraints are addressed in order for the households of Kiribati and Tuvalu to produce starchy staples and nutritious food.

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