Wednesday 17 February 2010 | Published in Regional
“The time to mourn is over – now is the time to rebuild and plant.”
These were the words of Aitutaki head agriculture officer Fred Charlie who is leading the crop planting project on Aitutaki.
Most of the food crops and fruits trees on Aitutaki were destroyed during cyclone Pat, however Charlie says that some root crops are still good and will feed the island for the next month or two.
Charlie said that they will begin planting new root crops as the current plots are used.
Vegetable seeds were sowed yesterday and in three weeks time will be ready to be planted into the soil.
Vegetables propagated yesterday were lettuce, cucumber and bok choy which Charlie says will be ready a month after planting.
Tomatoes, capsicums and cabbages will be ready three months after planting.
Charlie said that nine agriculture officers from Rarotonga will join the four on Aitutaki to help propagate new crops on the island.
Germinated seeds will be given to known growers on the island which will be shared with villagers when they are ready.
Charlie believed that it would a year until the island would see its first ripe banana and pawpaw as these crops were completely destroyed by the storm.
Growers on Rarotonga are asked to help supply taro shoots, maniota (arrowroot) and kumara cuttings to help with the island’s food crop planting.
Those who are able to donate these much needed cuttings and shoots are asked to deliver them to the Ministry of Agriculture in Arorangi for shipment to Aitutaki.