Regenerative Organic Agriculture

To be sustainable a system has to maintain and replace what it consumes over its lifetime. At Ranadi Plantation we believe soil husbandry is the key to regenerative, organic and sustainable large-scale agriculture, and we prioritise not just maintaining and replacing our soil but increasing its fertility and volume using organic and biological techniques.

In tropical climates 90% of life is above the soil and 10% in the soil, as opposed to temperature climates where 60% is above the soil and 40% within. Industrial farming practices from temperature climates are widely practised in the tropics and strip fertility from tropical soils. Tropical farmers then become dependent on bought inputs to grow their crops as soils rapidly erode. At Ranadi we’re working on and promoting alternative agricultural methods specific to tropical soils. For example, we receive green and brown organic waste from our wider community via the local waste management company. We mulch this waste and add it to our compost. We also have a “recycling” system, whereby our staff bring food scraps to work rather than sending them to the landfill; kitchen scraps are fed to our chickens, and meat and fish waste are composted, burned or emulsified. These processes extract valuable minerals which we use for rebuilding our soil. Rather than use conventional fertiliser inputs which cause imbalances in soil biology and promote rapid weed growth, we create inoculant composts and soil probiotics which promote microbiological diversity and plant uptake of minerals via the nutrient cycle.

Jodi Smith, Ranadi’s CEO, and Tupou Lakalaka, COO, both hold certificates in Permaculture Design and were taught by Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Design Institute in Australia. Jodi, Tupou and Technical Manager Ajay Nand, are designing and implementing permaculture concepts at Ranadi, including chinampas, food forests and a chicken tractor to complement our commercial ginger production. Cultivation of our coconuts is based on Bill Mollison‘s palm circle polyculture.

Jodi has been trained by Paul Taylor of Trust Nature in Bio-Vital™. This system is a compost process where compost is used as the medium for growing a high diversity of beneficial soil organisms. Soil organisms re-build degraded soils and reduce the need for water and fertilisers. By making inputs themselves farmers can build fertility and increase productivity, while at the same time reducing costs. It’s Jodi’s aim to spread this system throughout Fiji.

Ranadi is slowly moving towards a no tillage system of commercial production. In 2016 we introduced a chicken tractor to prepare the land for our ginger. We use cows to slash our grasses.

If you are interested to learn any of our systems we are keen to share them with you! Please contact us here.