Posted by : Posted on : 05-Sep-2020

Solomons border closure affecting food security in the Shortlands

The closure of the western border with Papua New Guinea and the extensive border surveillance and police patrols are measures of critical importance to ward off coronavirus intrusion into the Solomon Islands.

Latest reports from Papua New Guinea say

Papua New Guinea has confirmed eight new cases of Covid-19, all from Western Province.

To date, the country has 479 total confirmed cases.

So far 12 of the country's 22 provinces had reported positive cases. The death toll for PNG remains at five and the recoveries at 232.

The total number of tests pending laboratory results is 240.

The border closure, has however, had a severe impact on food security, according to agricultural officers from the Western Province’s government.

One such officer, John Kepas, told a local newspaper that most of the islanders focussed on fishing and relied on selling their catch in the Buin markets over the border in PNG's Bougainville region to buy their root crops and other store bought food items.

Mr. Kepas said the heavy reliance on fishing revenue was also partly because of a chronic problem with wild pigs ruining food gardens which in the islands are usually made up in the bush where there is good soil.

He said the border closure cutting off access to these traditional markets is a major food security issue.

Mr. Kepas said his team are encouraging the affected communities to substitute the larger bush gardens with backyard gardens which will be easier to protect from pigs so they can at least have some of their own root crops and vegetables.

Sources: Radio New Zealand and Solomon Star News.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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