Australian research shows that the Covida-19 pandemic could trigger a food crisis in the Pacific region.
The report is the result of work by CSIRO and the Australian National University.
Published this week by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, or ACIAR, the report warns that the pandemic exacerbates existing threats to food security and has long-term implications for the Asia-Pacific region.
The Pacific region already faces challenges from climate change and devastating weather events, biosecurity threats, and transportation difficulties exacerbated by the pandemic.
ACIAR chief executive, Professor Andrew Campbell, said the report suggests it makes a food crisis possible.
“Coming growing seasons might be more difficult than current ones and that pre-existing vulnerabilities have been amplified by the pandemic and responses to the pandemic.”
Campbell said it is important that regional trade in food is maintained and countries get the balance right between imports and local production.
He said the renewed reliance on home-grown food had been a silver lining from the pandemic and the aim of organisations like his was to ensure this could be broadened.
“Looking forward and thinking how we can improve things like composting and recycling farm resources, particularly in the nutrient poor islands, so that we are making the best use of the nutrients that do exist and that we are getting local production of healthy foods.
“And that’s got to be a significant policy objective over coming years.”