Some regions of Fiji suffered from food shortages during lockdown periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. But new efforts are helping villagers with food security, economic self-sufficiency and resilience.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency recently worked together on a pilot project to benefit more than 100 people in the village of Navatuyaba in the province of Rewa, reported the Church’s Fiji Newsroom.
The Church gave villagers farming kits and other tools for livelihood support, as part of the Adventist agency’s food and nutrition security, community resilience and economic sufficiency project.
Iliapi Tuwai, the Adventist agency’s country director for Fiji, said his organization is assisting more than 1,000 families across Fiji with food rations and financial assistance.
“A lot of Fijians are in dire need of food, and their livelihoods have been greatly affected due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Tuwai said.
Recently, representatives from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and the Church joined leaders from the Fiji government’s health ministry to visit the project site in Navatuyaba. They saw backyard gardens and other plantings and heard from villagers.
Village headman Mario Nudei said the project has supported the livelihoods of the village, especially as the cost of living rises.
“We learned about food processing and value adding, so we are able to utilize the available resources such as flour production from root crops,” Nudei said. “We are no longer buying flour from the shop because we are making our own. Women in the village get together once a week to produce flour. We are grateful to ADRA and [the Church] for their support.”
Paul Reid, manager of welfare and self-reliance for the Church’s Pacific Area said, “We are pleased to work with our longtime partners at ADRA to help bring better food security to the people of this area. We are also looking for new ways in which we can assist further, in partnership with the ministry.”