Food availability in Fiji is generally good, especially when compared to other Pacific islands. While this has led to lower food security concerns, Fiji suffers from a double burden of over- and under-nutrition. Adult obesity affects nearly a third of Fijians and rates of non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are correspondingly high. Meanwhile, micronutrient deficiencies are common, with many nutrients consumed below recommended levels among all age groups. Much of Fiji’s poor nutrition rate stems from an increasing dependence on cheap imported food and a decreased intake of traditional food. Not only are nutritionally inadequate imported foods cheap, but many traditional foods are now grown for export, which has increased prices, especially for urban Fijians.
Agriculture has seen a steady decline in the last several decades, which has been compounded by Fiji’s vulnerability to climate change. Fiji experiences frequent storms, cyclones, floods and drought, which can be devastating to agriculture, while trade policies, such as reducing tariffs on agricultural exports, have also weakened the sector.
- Food is widely available in Fiji, especially compared to many other Pacific islands. In contrast, rates of obesity and micronutrient deficiencies are high.
- Consumption of cheap imported food is increasing rapidly, while consumption of nutrient-dense traditional food has decreased, especially among urban Fijians.
- Agriculture is a key sector of the economy and is vital to rural food security.
- Despite that, the sector has declined over several decades, as a result of agricultural, trade and land policy, as well as climate change.