FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
The content is not available.

FAO helps tackle urbanization impacts in Solomon Islands

21/01/2020 Honiara, Solomon Islands

The global trend of urbanization is also happening in the Solomon Islands.  According to some sources, cities and towns such as Honiara, Auki, Gizo and Noro now host two-thirds of all urban Solomon Islanders.

Rapid and unplanned urban sprawling in the surrounding rural areas is commonly depleting natural resources, including arable land, and eroding biodiversity, thereby contributing to the unsustainability of current urbanization trend, and increasing the vulnerability to shocks.

To raise awareness of urbanization issues, a training and consultation workshop on City Region Food Systems - CRFS was organized by the FAO in December 2019 in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Around twenty-five participants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL); Ministries of Health and Education; DFAT, UN Women; Kostom Garden Association (KGA); Gedome Organic Limited; City councils (Honiara, Auki and Gizo); policy makers and other key stakeholders attended.

Agribusiness and food systems specialist, Shukrullah Sherzad said there were two main aims of the FAO funded workshop. The first aim was to share information of CRFS such as City Region Food Systems challenges, approaches, planning process and programs. The second aim was to develop a project to improve Solomon Island city Region Food systems, based on consultation and suggestions from the workshop’s participants.

Coordinator of the FAO City Region Food Systems Programme, Guido Santini said. “Building sustainable and climate resilient local food systems is a key priority for the Pacific and the SIDS countries in general.” He added. “Adopting a territorial and city region approach in Solomon Islands can be an effective approach to reinforce the local value chains and reinforce linkages between the main urban centers and the rural hinterlands, taking into consideration the vulnerability to climate shocks.”

Growing urbanization in the Solomon Islands is accompanied by changing patterns of food consumption, and populations living in urban environments are surrounded by large amounts and varieties of low-cost packaged foods and beverages. Cheaper imported foods increasingly form part of Solomon Islander diets, with consequent health implications, including a rise in non-communicable diseases.

FAO’s FIRST Policy Officer Food, Itziar Gonzalez said, “Nutrition Security issues are multi-sectoral in nature and must be addressed from different perspectives. The FIRST programme works in the Pacific promoting the policy dialogue and coordination among the key sectors to enhance local food systems for sustainable and healthy diets.” Gonzalez added. “The implementation of CRFS programme in SOI is a good opportunity to strengthen this approach through a multi stakeholder platform that will aim to improve Food and Nutrition Security in the country. “

“Stronger rural-urban market linkages could improve food supply chains coordination and could ease access to healthy food in the city regions of Solomon Islands. FAO new developed project will follow systemic approach to deal with the issues caused by urbanization.” Said Sherzad.

The CRFS training workshop was funded by FAO and facilitated by the FAO officials, Guido Santini (Coordinator of the FAO City Region Food Systems Programme),  Itziar Gonzalez (FIRST Policy Officer) and  Shukrullah Sherzad (Agribusiness and food systems specialist).