Food Coalition

Inputs from HiHi-FAO Kiribati and Tuvalu to the corporate umbrella programme for COVID-19 response

While Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are atoll nations straddling the equator in the Pacific Ocean, are currently COVID-free, the pandemic’s impact across the nations have been significant, with a state of emergency issued, border closures enacted and limited access to food supply and livelihood opportunities. A prolonged pandemic with disruptions to global and local supply chains (including production, processing, export and transportation) is feared to further impact food systems across the Pacific, including those of Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Despite their reliance on food imports, particularly grains, these island nations are seeking to rapidly increase domestic agricultural production. Furthermore, the most resilient varieties of seed – for bananas, cassava and sweet potato, for example - must be imported from elsewhere in the Pacific Region. With a current lack of flights, the time for transportation of these necessary inputs may be lengthy. Access to seeds, fertilizers and livestock feed are hampered by lockdown, border closure and a shortage of supply in exporting countries.

The islands are also acknowledged as being particularly vulnerable to current and future risks posed by the impact of climate change, including rising air temperatures, decrease in rainfall and inundation of low-lying coastal areas.

Small-scale fishing activities in some communities have increased due to reduced access to imported foods, an activity for which many require support. The need to keep diseases and pests at bay has also emerged more strongly, with heightened interest across the region to stop the spread of the African swine fever, recently confirmed in nearby Papua New Guinea. Moreover, remittances, on which many families rely on from abroad, have also experienced a severe downturn.

Quality and real-time data is important to respond to the structural effects of the pandemic and design well-informed policy interventions that promote medium- and long-term changes to achieve more sustainable and resilient food systems, able to provide healthy diets for all.

Priority Areas of work: Other
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 14. Life Below Water
Level: Country
Country: Kiribati, Tuvalu
Budget: USD 350 000 to USD 500 000 per country

Action Sheet:

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