NEWS

 PM: Pandemic Affecting Our Food Supply

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a cruel cycle of dis­rupted supply chains, devas­tated industries, reduced incomes and higher retail prices, all of which has forced families to make trade-offs in
22 Jul 2021 11:03
 PM: Pandemic Affecting Our Food Supply
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaking online during the virtual National Food System Summit on July 21, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a cruel cycle of dis­rupted supply chains, devas­tated industries, reduced incomes and higher retail prices, all of which has forced families to make trade-offs in both the quantity and quality of their food.

This was the statement made by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainima­rama while officiating at the vir­tual National Food System Summit yesterday.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said for some families, this has led to insufficient calories as well as insufficient variety and quality.

“For others, it can lead to over­dependence on convenient and affordable processed foods that contribute to the increase in non-communicable diseases, which have disproportionate and dev­astating effects on Pacific Island Countries,” he said.

“It is a terrible shame that in the midst of an ocean teeming with life and on islands with fertile soil and a favourable climate, Pacific island states have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the world,” he said.

“With COVID-19 now putting food systems under strain as global food supply chains are disrupted, this is the time to grow our way towards a sustainable, healthy food system that can guarantee that our people have enough high-quality food to guarantee a healthy and fulfilling life.

“We cannot solve the global food crisis, but we can resolve it in our corner of the world.”

Resilient food system

He said a resilient food system would be critical and a resilient system includes what is produced, what is imported and what could be exported.

“We will be challenged to find hardy crops that can withstand spikes in temperature or periods of drought and inundation,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“A resilient agricultural system will be diverse, so that we are not overly dependent on only a few crops. And as our agriculture sec­tor grows, we will not be overly de­pendent on a few economic sectors either.

“Some growers may find that they can do a lot better growing other, more lucrative crops, and we will want to help any farmer who wants to make that change.”

Young farmers

He added that there was a need for more young people to venture into farming to create the commercial scale necessary to compete in the global market for exports.

“In Fiji, we have the climate, we have a reputable national brand for quality, and we have the ability to farm new crops and traditional staples,” he said.

“We need to grant more of our farmers the stability and security of long-term tenure of agricultural leases so they can pursue commer­cial opportunities in earnest.

“By harnessing those advantages and aligning incentives, we can make the domestic and regional markets part of a nutrition-secure Pacific.”

He said the more trade facilitat­ed among the region, the less we would rely on global supply chains.

Mr Bainimarama said: “It is a job for everyone; the State, the private sector, the educators, the research­ers, our development partners, our local communities and families. We all have a role to play in the process of building more resilient, sustainable and nutritious food systems because that will be a ma­jor step toward guaranteeing all Fi­jians, and all Pacific Islanders, food and nutrition security.”

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 



Five Squares 7S Gold Deals


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total
Covid 19 - SPC
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper