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Building resilient, inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems in the Pacific

Thursday 15 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Environment, National

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Building resilient, inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems in the Pacific
The Cook Islands delegation to the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Conference in Apia, Samoa. SUPPLIED/22121407

Cook Islands experiences in response to Covid-19 and the global impacts of food, feed, fuel, fertiliser and finance were among the things presented by the country reps at the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Conference in Samoa.

The three-day conference held late last month was co-hosted by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Government of Samoa.

It provided a platform for exchange of locally-grown knowledge and innovation related to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems in the Pacific SIDS.

The Cook Islands delegation was led by Ministry for Agriculture Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown alongside her chief executive officer Tou Unuia, Head of Ministry of Health, Bob Williams, Head of Ministry of Agriculture, Temarama Anguna-Kamana and National Environment Service policy and planning manager Tekura Moeka’a.

In the Cook Islands statement, Toki-Brown spoke of the country’s experiences in response to Covid-19 and the global impacts of the 5F (food, feed, fuel, fertiliser and finance).

The country set up the Smart Agri Tech Scheme to encourage innovation and increase agricultural production during Covid pandemic. Cook Islanders Matisha and Tino Tautu of Matavera Farms were invited to the Forum to share their successes, challenges and plans for the future.

The Minister also spoke of challenges like the unprecedented price rates that saw the increase of cost of petrol by 71 per cent, high impact on food security, nutrition and livelihoods that saw the price of food increased between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in the first semester of 2022 that jeopardised economic recovery. She further noted the effects of the Ukraine War on supply and cost of fuel.

NES representative Moeka’a noted that “food security is vital to a nation’s survival against climate change”.

The effects of climate change may include greater risk of disaster from extreme weather events, increasing coastal erosion and loss of marine habitats, declining fresh water and natural food resources, increasing incidence of crop pest and diseases and increasing incidence of human diseases.

Keeping in line with the theme of the Forum – “Working together to leave no-one behind” – Moeka’a agrees that innovation, a multi-sectoral approach for transformational pathways and working collaboratively with both regional and international partners on the Multi-Country Framework for the Pacific Islands 2023-2027 will be a step in the right direction to scaling up ambition.

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