Minister – Food choices affect human and animal health

Minister for Agriculture and Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy (3rd from right) with guests during the 2021 World Food Day commemoration and the 76th Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations anniversary in Sigatoka last week. Picture: SUPPLIED

The food choices we make affect human health, animal health, and planetary health, says Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy.

While speaking at the 2021 World Food Day event at Bilalevu in Sigatoka last week, which coincided with the 76th Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) anniversary, he highlight the need for collaborative action across all sectors to make agri-food systems sectors more efficient and sustainable.

He said the celebration, therefore, provided an ideal platform to emphasise the importance of agri-food systems transformation, connecting it to people’s daily lives, and particularly how that would affect the physical and economic accessibility to quality nutritious food.

“We intend to showcase how every food journey is interconnected with our agri-food systems. This journey recognises how our food heroes; the farmer, the food transporter, the exporter, the market vendor, factory worker, chef, family members, you, me and our friends influence the way you and I choose to consume food,” Mr Reddy said.

“Coincidently, the relevant food choices we make consequently affects human health, animal health and planetary health.”

He said the ministry had allowed Fijian families access to a reasonable supply of fresh and nutritious vegetables during the pandemic, whereby the Ministry of Agriculture distributed more than 135,709 seed packages, with each seed package containing at least four vegetable commodities which equated to around 542,836 individual seed packs.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous challenges imposed by climate change highlights the need to work together as value-based food supply chains that promote local food policies and agri-enterprises that work together to maximise value for all – whether it be the producer, processor, distributor or the end consumer.”

This year’s celebrations was themed ‘Our Actions are our future. Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and Better Life’.

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