The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to spark a regional food crisis, according to a new report released by the Australian Government’s specialist agricultural research-for-development agency.
Published today by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the report warns that the pandemic is exacerbating existing threats to food security that will have long-term implications for the Indo-Pacific region.
The report contains five in-depth assessments focusing on Indonesia, Pacific island countries (Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji), Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.
Increased challenges in growing and selling food, reduced incomes, biosecurity threats and greater exposure to the impacts of climate change were all identified as ongoing challenges across the region that are being amplified by the pandemic.
Produced by scientists from CSIRO and the Australian National University (ANU), working with partners in the target countries, the report marks the second stage of a three-phase response led by ACIAR to identify opportunities for intervention.