Kastom Gaden Association

Kastom Gaden Association

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Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) was established as a charitable trust in 2000.  It grew out of a five-year programme of an Australian NGO focussed on providing services to the subsistence and local market agriculture sector which encompassed the vast majority of the rural population.  At the time this sector was poorly-serviced and poorly-recognised by government, donors, and private sector.

Core business

The KGA mission is  to ‘Strengthen village-based food security in the Solomon Islands using participatory, practical, grass-roots approaches that enable village people to examine, understand, and develop their own solutions to improving household food security and village- based agriculture economy’.  KGAs core business is to provide services to members of the Solomon Islands Planting Material Network.

Membership

KGAs Planting Material Network has about 3000 members across the country.  Most are individual farmers but the network membership also includes 175 formal and informal farmer and other village-based groups including women’s and youth groups.  Members are entitled to access to the KGA seed bank, a newsletter, and to take part in the various extension services for food security and livelihood improvement.  Since 2010, KGA has selected ten key partner Farmer Organisations in five of the nine provinces of the Solomon Islands to build their capacity to provide extension services to farmers on the local level and based on local needs.  These partners are estimated to reach about 40% of the network members.

Activities

KGA has carried out a wide-range of projects and activities over the years in support of its members.  Recent projects include:

  • Kastom Gaden Rural Livelihood Programme provides core support to KGA to fund its services to the Planting Material Network and the devolution of service delivery to ten rural based farmer organisations
  • Searem Niu Plant Long Gaden Programme imported the best lowland sweet potato (the staple crop of Solomon Islands) varieties from SPC and NARI in PNG, collected the best local varieties, and evaluated, multiplied, and distributed the best varieties through 30 farmer-run germplasm centres across the country
  • Currently a key implementing partner in a large national climate change adaptation project led by the Solomon Islands Government

In addition, KGA has a seed exchange network – the Planting Material Network (PMN) – that maintains and has available for members approximately 100 varieties of open-pollinated vegetables and root crops.  Farmer collections supported by PMN conserve hundreds more varieties of banana and root crops.