Global fuel and food crises are affecting Pacific island people, who are very susceptible to global economic downturns, said Aleki Sisifa, Director of the Land Resources Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). He was speaking at the opening today of the Third Heads of Agriculture and Forestry meeting in Apia, Samoa. The theme for the meeting is ‘Food security, nutritional balance and sustainable management of natural resources’.
“The genetic resources for food and agriculture we have depended on for generations have been eroded over the years, a situation that may be made worse by climate change. We need to sign up to the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, so that we can access a wider pool of diversity, and be able to share genetic resources.
“Having adequate and secure access to customary land for development as well as ensuring sustainable land use have become more urgent with the need for increased pace of economic growth,” Mr Sisifa said. Land reform is among the subjects for discussion.
Mr Sisifa said non-communicable diseases were afflicting Pacific people in epidemic proportions, making the links between the agriculture and forestry sectors and the human health sector, of great importance. The demand to provide alternative fuels was competing with food production, including competition for the land for production.
The outcomes of the Heads of Agriculture meeting will go before a meeting next week of Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry. The Ministers meeting on 08- 09 September, would also consider an Intergrated Strategic Plan, 2009-2012, for the SPC’s Land Resources Division…PNS (ENDS)