Pacific Island Countries Urged to Produce More Healthy Local Foods at Competitive Prices

Name: Farelle Ferreira

ID: 813003239

Lifestyle changes, globalization and population increase has affected the diets of Pacific islanders as food production and consumption has been altered. Pacific island countries are banishing their old diet as they have become heavily dependent on imported food. Due to this, many persons living on these islands have replaced their healthy traditional diets of locally grown vegetables, fruit and protein with unhealthy and processed imported foods which are high in salt, saturated fats and sugar. Mortality rates are rising and serious obesity related illnesses are more prevalent than ever before. Through further research, I have found that this article is completely accurate and agreeable. If Pacific islanders consume more locally produced food and less imported food, the rates of mortality, obesity and illness will decrease.

From this article, one can see that the cost of local food production compared to importing food along with the convenience of food import are two main driving factors for this change in the Pacific diet. The subsidies for local farmers were previously granted through the income from export commodities. The increase in imported foods has left farmers and fishermen with declining competitiveness and thus has reduced their capacity to supply local and export markets. Adding to this vicious cycle is the fact that imported foods are sold at much cheaper prices than local products to farmers simply cannot compete as most people choose the lest costly option. If action is not taken, the agricultural sector will continue to decline and this is a pity as it was once the main source of income for this countries.

It would be beneficial to the Pacific islands to implement strategies to combat and overcome the problems being faced. This would involve cooperation by all sectors of society. If children are educated in schools about the importance of a healthy diet, this could lead the younger generation to make wiser choices. Documentaries can also be aired on television stations to inform the public of the negative effects of a diet high in processed foods and the importance of buying local goods to keep farmers employed. Exercise programs in workplaces, schools and universities can help to combat obesity and obesity related illness. Also, farmers who cannot afford to produce local goods can be granted financial stability from the government to help maintain their farms and grants can also be given to new farmers to encourage a boom in local production. Lastly, governments can start some sort of program whereby farmers are hired to cultivate the land and citizens can pay a small fee to enter the farms and pick their own goods. This would encourage a much healthier lifestyle and will also give farmers employment. It may also even inspire some people to grow their own herbs, fruits and vegetables locally at their own home.

References

Dow, Allan. “FAO – News Article: Pacific Island Countries Urged To Produce More Healthy Local Foods At Competitive Prices”. Fao.org. N.p., 2017.

Okihiro, M., and R. Harrigan. “An overview of obesity and diabetes in the diverse populations of the Pacific.” Ethnicity & disease 15.4 Suppl 5 (2004): S5-71.

Pacific Islands Report on Evans et al (2001) – Globalisation, Diet & Health:  An Example from Tonga,  Bulletin of the WHO, 79 (9): 856-62.

 

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