Amid pandemic, Pacific islands work to offset food shortages
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Coronavirus infections have barely touched many of the remote islands of the Pacific, but the pandemic’s fallout has been enormous, disrupting the supply chain that brings crucial food imports and sending prices soaring as tourism wanes. With a food crisis looming, many governments have begun community initiatives to help alleviate shortages: extending fishing seasons, expanding indigenous food gathering lessons and bolstering seed distribution programs that allow residents greater self-reliance. “We initially started with 5,000 seeds and thought we would finish them in nine months’ time. But there was a very big response, and we finished distributing the seeds in one week,” said Vinesh Kumar, head of operation for Fiji's Agriculture Ministry.