Eritai Kateibwi has the ambitious goal of getting every family in Kiribati to grow their own plants and vegetables by using mineral rich water rather than soil. He is a Commonwealth Innovation Awards 2019 People category winner.
Due to low elevation, over-crowded living spaces, and limited understanding, many people in Kiribati are unable to grow their own food. High population concentration in the main cities takes over potential farmland. Storms regularly cause flooding, washing out any viable crops. This has contributed to widespread malnutrition and reliance on imported food.
Eritai’s Te Maeu project uses a portable, self contained hydroponics system that requires no soil to grow crops. After reading about the hydroponic technique while studying in America, Eritai decided to share this cutting-edge method with his local community so that they could grow healthy, cheap and sustainable food. His project relies on Kiribati’s abundant sunshine but uses only 10 per cent of the water of traditional crops.