News Column

Fiji : Climate change a threat to Fiji's food security

August 22, 2014

Unless action is taken soon, climate change will drastically affect our food security and above all, affect different communities in Fiji. This was pointed during presentation by the Ministry of Agriculture at the National Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change workshop underway in Suva. The Ministry s economic planning officer Jone Raileabula highlighted that countries in the region including Fiji are experiencing the effects of climate change, including worsening coastal erosion and floods. This said has a severe impact on food security. The Ministry established programs to introduce new crops, crop varieties, or technologies that could be adopted to help farmers improve their traditional production systems, Mr Raileabula said.

Communities need to work together to find the best way to adapt to changing agricultural needs and communities should also work with each other and relevant authorities, he said. Mr Raileabula adds that the Ministry has been conducting research on method of improving storage, post-harvest handling & cold storage. There are developing ideas to have new varieties of crops with resistance to drought, salinity, flooding and extreme temperatures This include traditional varieties e.g. Coco yams (Dalo ni tana), Yams - uvi dina (greater yam), kawai (lesser yam), tivoli (wild yams), Drought tolerant kumala, Salt tolerant root crops, he said. Some of the other areas that the Ministry is undertaking to mitigate climate change include the desalting of farm drains, watershed management irrigation, river dredging, embankments programs and breeds that are disease tolerant and have a high adaptability to Fiji s climate.

Meanwhile, Mr Timothy Wilcox, the Sub-Regional Coordinator (Pacific) at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction commended the Bainimarama government for their efforts in conducting this workshop to address the effects of climate change in the country. We need to promote food security as an important factor in ensuring the resilience of communities to hazards, particularly in areas prone to drought, flood, cyclones and other hazards that can weaken agriculture-based livelihoods, Mr Wilcox said.

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Source: TendersInfo (India)

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