Fiji has welcomed a proposal by the World Food Program to initiate a series of capacity building programs for young Fijians to learn how WFP responds to the needs of vulnerable communities and those affected during times of natural disasters.

This proposal was recommended to the Minister for Agriculture Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy at a meeting today with the WFP Head of Logistics Pierre Honnorat. The meeting which was held on the margins of the Executive Board meeting was an opportunity for the Minister to look at how the WFP responds to communities and countries in need of support following natural disasters or natural catastrophes.

In presenting the logistics operation of food and emergency supply materials, Mr Honnorat proposed that it would be, to both parties advantage, that Fiji look at deploying relevant officials to undertake training programs including internships with the WFP. He said that this would also provide the necessary expertise from Fiji to the WFP as the logistics team currently does not have anyone from the South Pacific. He proposed that this capacity be extended to exchange programs.

In response, Minister Reddy said that Fiji welcomed the support of the WFP in addressing malnutrition and hunger in the country. Through their office in Suva, the Minister said that Fiji is keen to see young Fijians be exposed to international best practices in responding to future natural disasters.

“As a result of the growing impacts of climate change, Fiji will continue to face new and dynamic challenges when it comes to food security. This is why it’s important that our partners, like the WFP, should be engaged to look at how we can avoid a shortage of food supplies during natural disasters”, Minister Reddy said.

“We are keen to learn from the expertise of the WFP and how they are dealing with food hunger and malnutrition from around the world and apply those learning experiences in Fiji”. Earlier today, the Minister met with several key senior personnel in the WFP to identify how both parties can work more closely with each other.

Later in the week, the Minister is expected to deliver remarks at a high-level event alongside other Pacific leaders.