COVID-19 has influenced a growth in backyard gardening and subsistence farming

COVID-19 has impacted the growth of backyard gardeners and subsistence farming – Konrote

President, Jioji Konrote. [image: Fijian Govt.]

President Jioji Konrote says here in Fiji that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the growth of subsistence farming and gardening.

He made these remarks while speaking with the Pacific Regional Director of Agriculture and Forestry during a virtual meeting.

Konrote says before the global impact of COVID-19, he and his team would travel to communities and advocate subsistence farming to address food security issues.

He says COVID-19 is now putting food systems under pressure as global food supply chains are disrupted, exposing synergies between agriculture, food security, forestry, fisheries, biodiversity and human well-being and prosperity.

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He says there is a need to develop our path to a sustainable, healthy food system that can guarantee people have enough quality food to ensure healthy and fulfilling lives.

He adds, what worries him deeply is the reality that an increase in unhealthy and less nutritious diets in the Pacific can lead to – a deadly reliance on convenient and affordable processed foods.

Konrote says this increases the burden of non-communicable diseases, which are already disproportionate and devastating to the peoples of the Pacific Islands.

According to Konrote, the worsening climate threat is not secondary to COVID-19 and needs to be addressed together with the same urgency as the global pandemic months before the cyclone season.

The Presidents also note that COVID-19 affects food security differently in each country, so solutions need to be specific and relevant, not one-size-fits-all.

He says the response to climate change and the pandemic must be based on their long-term commitment to climate-neutral, climate-resilient societies that also protect and restore nature.

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