Fiji is currently dealing with the double burden of malnutrition (micronutrient deficiency and obesity) and high dependence on food imports. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is low – Fijians only eat 1–2 servings per day – and local food production only meets 29–40% of energy (food calorie) requirements. Production, processing and marketing of locally produced food and fish can be improved. As a result, the country is one of seven Pacific Islands that are being targeted by a new project to increase poor rural people's access to nutritious and healthy food by strengthening the capacity of Pacific Island governments, farmer and private sector organisations, and sub-regional institutions to develop strategies and programmes, as well as to mobilise financing.
This workshop was the first in a series of national policy roundtables for the project 'Leveraging the Development of Local Food Crops and Fisheries Value Chains for Improved Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems in the Pacific Islands with a focus on Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu'. This project is being implemented by CTA, with matching funding from IFAD, and in collaboration with PIPSO. In addition to presenting the project, the workshop also:
- engage and share evidence generated to date with key stakeholders;
- engaged and shared evidence generated to date with key stakeholders;
- identified actions that strengthen public-private producer partnerships to upgrade and/or develop priority local value chains that are nutrition and culturally sensitive;
- explored options and define priority actions for strengthening women's role in agriculture, nutrition, value chain and agri-business development;
- co-developed draft action plans for influencing policies and programmes and mobilising public and private investment; and
- set the stage for the roll out of national roundtables planned for Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and, Vanuatu later this year.
The project has adopted a three-pronged approach: Analyse, Act, and Advocate (AAA) for agricultural innovation and increased dietary diversity. In the analyse phase, the focus is on building the evidence based on the key institutional constraints, market and business opportunities, innovations and drivers for success. A rapid scan of the agriculture and nutrition situation in Fiji has already been undertaken and the results will be presented at the workshop. In the 'act phase', the project will seek to increase capacity for achieving the desired change through multi-stakeholder cross-learning events, value chain coordination/agriculture innovation platforms and provision of seed and innovation funding grants. And, in the advocate phase, emphasis will be on promoting good practice and lessons learned to lobby for policy change and mobilising additional public and private sector funding to ensure future sustainability.
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