Paradigm shift needed in Agriculture to sustain livelihoods & food security

The country’s agriculture sector needs to shift from doing business as usual and embark on adaptive and disaster risk resilience approaches to sustain people’s livelihoods and food security.

Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Hon. Senley Levi Filualea highlighted this in his keynote address on the national broadcaster (SIBC) during the World Food Day and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 75th anniversary commemoration on 16 October 2020.

“Agriculture must adapt in order to mitigate the extreme effects of natural disasters and pandemics.

“Adverse effects of Climate Change and other natural calamities had been a constant threat to agriculture in Solomon Islands. Similarly, pandemics that affect humans and animals regularly emerged in countries close to home. The COVID-19, Bird Flu, and African swine fever are examples.

“The Agriculture sector must make a paradigm shift from doing business as usual to having a more adaptive and disaster risk resilience approach. Stakeholders must start to listen to each other and plan the way forward for the sector,” Minister Filualea emphasised.

He said not long ago the country signed the Paris Declaration on Climate Change, and begin to implement its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“These platforms enables us to look seriously at how we deal with issues that matters most for our people. Peoples’ health and wellbeing are so important. The SDG-1, SDG-2, related to ending Poverty and zero hunger are global targets that are set.

“We as a country have to develop and work towards the achievement of these goals and the rest of the 17 SDGs.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and other development partners including FAO is contributing to achieving these goals through its various programmes and activities that support farmers and farming families.

“The same can be said for the fisheries, forest and health sectors. Other players in the sectors must do the same to achieve that combined effect of meeting the goals,” he said.

He said resilience of our rural people to mitigate and change to the effects of climate change, and other natural disasters have always sustained our people.

“Making use of acquired knowledge to enhance our traditional systems in our villages is the right way towards sustainable development, and utilization of natural resources which are limited to mitigate the effects of natural and man-made disasters.

“This year 2020 saw the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic unlike any other threatening economies, lives, and food security of the developing and developed countries.  Solomon Islands eventually succumbed to the virus having been one of the few countries with the virus-free status for the past eight months.

“The policy of the DCGA government clearly spells out the importance of addressing food security. As such my Ministry has been embarking on various National programmes from food security to economic development. Partnerships have been forged with private sector players to commercialise crop and livestock production targeting the domestic and export markets,” he said.