The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic is a test of resilience to many food systems and economies around the globe. 

This was the underlying message shared by the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Ritesh Dass while officiating at a 2-day workshop on Food Security and Nutrition Implication for COVID-19 in Fiji. 

Mr. Dass stressed the importance of individual contributions and the need for a change in mindset in how the agriculture sector was viewed. “Agriculture should be our way of life and not just an activity or a profession.

Fiji has proven its resilience in dealing with the crisis quite rapidly and this is what we should be proud of as a Nation,” he said. “Vulnerability to climate change related hazards combined with Fiji’s position as a net food importer, highly dependent on international trade and subject of a high external debt are additional challenges aggravating the difficulties faced during this pandemic.” 

In Fiji, the pandemic is challenging the livelihoods of a significant extent of the population, whose income and employment are at risk due to losses in tourism and remittances in particular representing 34% (Reserve Bank of Fiji, 2017) and 5.1% (World Bank, 2018) of GDP respectively. 

The objective of the workshop is to share information and engage in discussions on various on-going food security and nutrition initiatives from Government and Non-Government stakeholders. Assess readily available data and to identify data needed and to drive data compilation.

Its secondary objective is to identify gaps and to provide possible innovative solutions. This activity for which the concept is developed is supported by the FAO FIRST Programme, a policy assistance facility aiming to set the right policy environment in agriculture and the rural sector to achieve zero hunger. 

The current activity focuses on supporting the main stakeholders of the Food Security and Nutrition Scenario to jointly analyse the current context and come up with shared policy responses for the way ahead.

It will also support the Food Security and Livelihood cluster in compiling a Plan of Action based on all agency inputs to attempt to quantify and address the current concerns.

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