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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

Siosiua Halavatau
Siosiua HalavatauPacific Community (SPC)Fiji

Poverty results from conditions where people's basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met.

In the Pacific Islands the roles of agriculture in eradicating poverty relate to the following:

  1. We must increase agriculture production – at the moment agriculture production in relation to population is either stagnating or declining with a few countries doing well with agriculture production increasing. We must increase production in order to improve food availability. This means increasing production at the national level. The households access to land must involve in agriculture and produce enough to eat and access to sell to those who cannot produce foods.
  2. Food access can be realized by household producing their own food or by procuring food – this means households must have a source of income – either from agriculture or off-farm incomes from working elsewhere. Governments should encourage development of agriculture as an industry to provide employment for its people. In that way household earn incomes to purchase household needs. Our agriculture must be developed to increase not only foods, but also fibres and timbers, etc to meet basic needs of the households. Our agriculture in the Pacific still include agroforestry systems which provide not only foods but fibre.
  3. Poverty should be look at to also include the individuals – and with respect to food – we mean healthy diet but when a household is poor – this does not happen but simple food systems can be developed to provide a healthy diet even for the poor.

In summary eradicating extreme poverty through agriculture is everyone’s business – it is individuals, households, communities and the government. The government must have conducive policies supporting agricultural development supporting the poor. Communities must develop community plans that include how to develop agriculture to provide for our basic needs. Households will be the ones to deliver on these and sectors like health and nutrition must contribute to develop diets even for the poor to ensure everyone is healthy.

Thank you