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.