Posted by : Posted on : 22-Aug-2020

Reduce non-communicable disease by returning to a traditional diet of tropical root and tuber crops.

Many of the letters I have shared with readers in the Solomon Islands have been concerned with the incidence of non-communicable disease and especially with the rise in cases of diabetes as a leading cause of death and disability.

I have also long advocated the need to return to a more traditional diet and a reduction in imported foods and sugary drinks.

Today, reading the latest Radio New Zealand news bulletin, I was pleased to see a top scientist had similar views to mine and had said, “Covid-19 is an opportunity for the Pacific to return to a traditional food sources by eating tropical root and tuber crops.”

Quoting the news bulletin it read, quote.

“Vincent Lebot recently published a second edition of his book on the crop production science and horticulture of Cassava, Sweet Potato, Yams and Aroids.

“Dr Lebot said the pandemic had shown the limits of international trade and globalisation and he felt there was an urgent need for Pacific Islands to build up resilience and self-sufficiency.

"These crops are of course ancient crops but they are offering promotions for the future because they can be cultivated locally with very low input and carbon footprint and they can strengthen small holders capacity to adapt to climate and of course for food security," Vincent Lebot said.

“Dr Lebot said he wrote the books because he felt there was a need for scientific information on these crops to help farmers in the region to strengthen and increase the yield of their crops.

“He also said returning to the traditional Pacific diet would help significantly with the non-communicable disease epidemic that had gripped the region and was now the leading cause of death in many Pacific countries.

"So I think if the present crisis could promote these locally grown tropical root crops that would be good because that would balance the diets and that would strengthen food security."

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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