Minister Joubert participates in the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit

The Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment Mr. Flavien Joubert, is participating in the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit virtual Ministerial Round Table as part of a three day event; 26th – 29th July 2021,  hosted by the United Nations and the Government of Italy, as the preparatory phase for the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September 2021.

The Pre-Summit is a platform which brings together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems and to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global shared vision for people, planet, and prosperity. 

The event kicked off on Monday 26th July for 3 days in a “Hybrid” virtual format, during which many people participated in person in Rome, while others from around the world were engaged on an interactive virtual platform.

During his intervention, Minister Joubert explained the Seychelles Food System of which 20% is contributed by the Fisheries Sector, 2% by the Agriculture Sector, and the importation of food commodities close to 90%. He highlighted some opportunities as well as the top five challenges that Seychelles must tackle to build a more resilience food system.  

“Firstly our food supply chain is heavily dependent on imports and as such, we are exposed to external risk factors; secondly the potential for economies of scale system is limited due to the small land mass; thirdly whilst we have enough fish, local vegetables and fruits, we rely almost entirely on imported carbohydrates, and for some livestock products; fourthly Seychelles has not been spared of the impact of climate change, and fifthly alien invasive species and pests and diseases are on the increase” said Minister Joubert.

Minister Joubert shared the goals of Agriculture Sector that are focused on the need to: (a) increase local production of food commodities; (b) strengthen the ability of local food producers to become more socioeconomically resilient, and increase their ability to adapt and mitigate the risks of climate change; (c) the sustainable management of endangered demersal fish species; (d) grow the food Sector GDP contribution and through that greater retention of foreign currency in the domestic Economy.

“Finally, whilst we have witnessed the globalisation of the farm-to-table pathway as well as the integration of the world food production and distribution systems that has reduced the importance of local boundaries, and with it the perception of food security; such a proxy sense of security, does carry a major risk for countries like Seychelles, especially in the event of major disruptions to the international trade order, said Minister Joubert. 

He concluded that these factors are emerging warning signs that are compelling states to re-appraise the need for a food defense strategy and that the United Nation Food Systems Summit amplifies the urgency for us to accelerate the call for action in building a more robust and resilient domestic and global food systems, especially as we emerge from the shadow of a global pandemic. 

The event brings together youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, the private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, among other players to articulate common priority areas in preparation for the September Food Systems Summit.