Waimakare Forest Farm is a small family run forest farm nestled in the lush green hills of Wailoku, just 15 minutes from Suva City, Fiji.
With just under 12 acres of land, the Waimakare Forest Farm is home to many varieties of native Fijian plants and medicinal herbs, as well as a small apiary.
Using a traditional agro-forestry system of farming the Waimakare Forest Farm is all natural. Crops are integrated with wild plants which serve as natural fertilisers and
Visitors to the farm can enjoy wandering through the peaceful landscape learning about the native trees and plants and their traditional uses. They are then welcomed into the environmentally-friendly farmhouse to enjoy a fresh cup of juice or homemade tea made from local ingredients and snacks made from the produce of the farm.
The Waimakare Forest Farm has been built using a traditional agroforestry system of farming.
In this traditional system of farming, farmers would assess the soil condition and the aspect of the land and then carefully and intentionally select the crops to be planted. Due to the variable terrain of most of the land available to the villages, mono cropping large areas in Fiji was rare.
Without agricultural chemicals to boost production, farmers had to carefully nurse their crops to maximize their yields.
Unfortunately, traditional farming methods are not formally taught anywhere in Fiji. Further, with urbanization and commercialization of agriculture, the practice, knowledge and many associated traditional crops are disappearing. One of the purposes of the Waimakare Forest Farm is to preserve this practice and knowledge.
Different Plant Types.
The Waimakare Forest farm has many plants of interest, including some culturally
important plants like voivoi, Masi, Yasi, Kura and Cevuganiviti. There are also other
non-traditional plants that have been introduced to the farm for general interest
such as Vanilla Vines, Coffee shrub, Cinnamon and Kumquat.
Layout of the Farm
Crops on the farm have been planted to match areas best suited for each of the crop’s special growing needs. Hence Viakana, Rourou and Otadina will be found in wetter locations where water may flow copiously during heavy rains.
Dalo will be found in wetter pieces of land but remaining well drained. Cassava and Kumala grow on drier slopes while yams are more selective of fertile and deeper soils.
Under the forests, wild yams have been grown where there is more light while the tall edible fern Ota lalaba may be found at the edge of the forest. The gynmosperm, Sukau with edible leaves and fruit, grows wild in the forest. The wild passion fruit that climbs high over the forest canopy attracts native birds that also fly into the farm to explore for food.
Areas that have been cultivated are left to fallow for recovery before they are planted again. Composting is also practiced on the farm.
Waimakare means “Clear Waters”
The Waimakare Forest Farm has a natural spring which feeds into a small stream that meanders through the forest.
The farm has a small Apiary which provides honey and beeswax. The bees feed on the flowers of medicinal Mexican Heather as well as a range of other medicinal flowers around the farm.
The environmentally friendly farmhouse has been built to complement the beauty of the farm that surrounds it.
The wood fired stove not only cooks delicious meals it also serves to heat the water for the house.