Food security crucial - Solomon Star News

Food security crucial

20 April 2019

Dear Editor – Following the national General Election on 3 April 2019 there are said to be moves in hand for a coalition grouping to form the new Solomon Islands government.

Whatever the make-up of the new administration there are several serious challenges to be tackled and I have already outlined the urgency of work in tackling the burgeoning unemployment rate and the critical reforms needed to health services and health care generally.

Another priority is to ensure food security given the continuing threat of climate change.

Food security in the Solomon Islands is at risk in the area of food production through increased temperatures, changed precipitation patterns, extreme events, including Cyclones and flooding, loss of food gardens and salt water intrusion.

The government will need to adopt adaptation strategies to combat climate change and especially focus on crop systems, livestock, fisheries and food access.

Escalated carbon dioxide and ozone levels will clearly cause changes agricultural production with the consequential threats to food security.

The government must look at scaling-up agricultural operations with an added increase on natural resource management to address growing food security concerns,

 In March this year, the Solomon Islands and the Pacific Community signed a   cooperation agreement establishing a Country Programme framework for national development activities over the next 3 years.

The Country Program was said to focus on key priorities within the National Development Strategy, including agriculture, NCDs, food security and the voluntary national reporting on SDGs.

 The agreement was signed by the then Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Milner Tozaka, and the SPC's Deputy Director General, Dr. Audrey Aumua, during a ceremony in Honiara.

It is hoped the new administration will give priority to the promised Country Programme framework and the priorities within the National Development Strategy, food security being a vital matter.

Adaptation measures to climate change go hand in hand with finances and the Green Climate Change Fund to implement projects is increasingly important.

In the last few days, Norway has announced its contribution to the global fund for climate change projects in Samoa.

The government of Norway will be doubling its contribution to the Green Climate Fund to $US100 million per year.

Last week, the Marshall Islands President said she was disappointed that Australia had stopped its contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

Frank Short
Bangkok, Thailand