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Pandemic puts food systems under strain: PM

July 21, 2021 4:30 pm
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaking at the virtual National Food System Summit[Source: Fijian Government]

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a vicious cycle of disrupted supply chains says, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking at the virtual National Food System Summit this morning, Bainimarama says the pandemic has devastated industries, reduced incomes, and has led to higher retail prices.

He adds all these have forced families to make trade-offs in both the quantity and quality of their food.

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“For some families, this leads 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 a disproportionate and devastating effect on Pacific Island Countries.”

Bainimarama adds that 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.

He says this can guarantee that our people have enough high-quality food for a healthy and fulfilling life.

“A resilient agricultural system will be diverse so that we are not overly dependent on only a few crops. And 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.”

The Prime Minister says the call by the UN Secretary-General to convene a Food System is an acknowledgment of the reality that we risk falling short on all the Sustainable Development Goals if we cannot achieve a healthy, sustainable and equitable food system.

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