The top 10 countries in the world with the highest obesity rates are all Pacific Island Nations (WHO). Overweight and obesity significantly contribute to the development of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, which are now affecting a sizeable portion of the Pacific Islands populations.
This health crisis is directly linked to the wide-scale adoption of the ‘Western Industrial diet’, high in fats and animal products and low in traditional foods (root crops, vegetables and fruits). As a result, farmers grow less and less of these traditional crops. Limited access to affordable, high quality improved varieties has also impacted productivity. Traditional knowledge and livelihood strategies have been undermined.
Several options must be carefully considered, and a holistic approach developed and implemented in consultation with local communities and national stakeholders for improving the performance of the agri-food system and increasing the availability of nutrient rich local foods for diversifying diets in the Pacific region.
Building on the indigenous knowledge of communities, integrating scientific and technical knowledge, promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and business development, and facilitating individual and organizational capacity development and policy and institutional reform is a win-win strategy.
This nutrion seed funding scheme supports projects that are community-based and are contributing to strengthening the agriculture-nutrition-income nexus. The supported initiatives are expected to directly contribute to improving production and increased income (sales), as well as home consumption of nutrient-dense local crops and fish.
The supported initiatives also involve/ support women and women’s groups, and show a strong link to farmers/ fisherfolk and rural households and have included a nutrition education component.
8 organisations have been awarded (click on their names to find out more):
- Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND): Garden to Plate – Integrated Backyard Gardening for a Holistic Approach to Income and Health (Fiji)
- Loving Islands: Growing the Loving Islands Farmer Enterprise (L.I.F.E.) Network (Fiji)
- Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI): Strengthening the Organic Agriculture Production, Income & Nutrition Local Supply Chain Nexus in Samoa
- Matuaileoo Environment Trust Inc. (METI): Integrated Backyard Gardening for a Holistic Approach to Income and Health (Samoa)
- Kastom Gaden Association (KGA): Improving Local Food Crop Planting Material Production and Supply Systems for Improved Food Security and Livelihoods of Rural Populations in the Solomon Islands
- Mwengaraoin Nanikaai Community (Implemented through MELAD): Sustainable Production of Fruits, Vegetables and Marine Resources for Increased Health and Incomes in Nanikaai Community (Kiribati)
- Ebon Atoll Local Government – Improving Local Food Production for Livelihood and Import Substitution in Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands
- Nishi Trading Foundation: Value Chain Community-based Approach for Increasing Consumption of Nutritious Traditional Foods and Incomes in Tonga