Dear Editor – Climate impacts in the Solomon Islands, a country that dependent on fishing and small-scale farming for sustenance, are set to intensify pressure on food security.
But innovative, participatory approaches may help policy makers navigate possible future scenarios in order to develop the right policy responses.
However, the most pressing issues facing Solomon Islands, using vivid infographics and photos to illustrate temperature and rainfall extremes; sea level rise; impacts on food crops, fisheries and aquaculture, and food and nutrition.
In my recent Research journals has shed light on the major threats facing the region’s food security, but also highlights potential opportunities to be gained under climate change.
Based on widespread consultation and research, the study finds that governments, development agencies, communities and farmers will need to work together to develop alternatives to threatened livelihoods, such as fishing and farming.
Similarly, stakeholders must be ready to take advantage of any favourable impacts of climate change.
Profound changes are needed to Solomon Island food systems to deal with the threat of climate change and more resilient food systems will have to be created, but more research is needed before these adaptations can be applied effectively.
The research study indicates the actual impact will depend on the plants and animals involved, and other factors affecting production, such as geographic location, farming practices and dependence on agriculture.
To tackle uncertain futures, innovative approaches are needed to envision how different changes may play out on the ground.
The research also highlight four contrasting scenarios – Tug of war, Living on the edge, Cash now, pay later and Crisis in paradise – that tell the story of different development pathways, which will ultimately prove useful for developing and testing plans and strategies.
The scenarios offer essential information for policy-makers, to test and guide efforts to develop policies that enhance resilience and strengthen adaptation to climate change among fishers and farmers in the Solomon Islands especially rural isolated and remote areas.
However, it provide important insights into the different dimensions of the food system, including fisheries and forests, trade, affordability and consumption, and public health.
According to my research there are three main recommendations for action to respond to climate change in Solomon Islands are:
Conduct national assessments of the vulnerability of agriculture in Solomon Island to climate change and identify, for example, the implications for food security and livelihoods from projected changes in production, population and urbanization.
Identify research to be done in each Provinces in Solomon Islands to implement priority adaptations based on, for example, projected food needs of rural and urban populations and existing production methods and capacity, including traditional knowledge.
Strengthen food systems research for each Provinces, for example, by creating effective partnerships between national research and extension agencies, farmers’ networks, NGOs, and scientific institutions to improve national capacity to carry out research, and by providing farmers and fishing communities with climate services to guide their investments and activities in order to sustain their livelihood and improve and at the same time strengthen their standard of living.
QWANAFIA M. BILAU
Researcher on Food security threats