The economic impact of COVID-19, according to the World Bank could push near 100 million people to the edge of the extreme poverty line. It also has the potential to trigger long-lasting effects on the world’s food security. This threat is most worrying for developing nations such as ourselves.
At the moment, the most reliable solution would be to take a hold of some of your own agricultural needs at home. This would mean engaging in small-scale home and community gardening projects.
Options range from setting up hydroponic systems to grow lettuce and other essential vegetable crops or traditional kitchen gardens. This would reduce your personal dependency on imported fruits and vegetables and even our national dependency if more support is given to local farmers and agricultural producers.
While fishermen are among the ‘essential workers’, local fish sales have reduced due to less beachgoers since the closing of such recreational public areas.
You can still support local fishermen by taking an occasional ‘drive’ or road-trip with your family up the northwest coast to keep our fishing community alive amid the pandemic.
With increasing jobs cuts and salary reductions, this is not the most ideal circumstance for any employee. What may help in terms of budgeting your food bill would be to make only essential purchases at the grocery and stay away from what would be considered luxury items, like steaks, quinoa or expensive cheeses, which are most definitely imported and heavily taxed.
We can hope though that interregional trade in the Caribbean improves to result in shorter food chains and open up the market for our local farmers.
While there are some countries that have experienced a slowing down of COVID-19 cases, like our neighbour, Barbados, the virus is still active and surging across parts of the world.
The fear of a global food emergency because of this, is real and there are many possibilities available to all countries to steer clear from this gloomy future.
As one of the more vulnerable nations to such a threat, it should be in the best interest of both citizens and governing bodies to encourage keeping local and regional food supply chains alive.
The need for a huge boost in local food production and implementing more resilient food systems is more relevant than ever before. If you have the space and personal resources available to begin any type of farming, you are encouraged to do so and keep supporting local producers. For now, live humbly and spend your income very wisely.
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