Although as of June 1, 2020, Solomon Islands had no coronavirus cases, there was a national economic recession plus restrictions on people’s movement, gatherings, education and business activities. For rural areas, two of the biggest changes have been increased circulation of people—those who moved out of Honiara and back to the provinces—and reduced cash flow. Food trade is impacted by a lack of cash in circulation, meaning reduced marketing of foods in villages and a rise in bartering of fish for other foods. In a small portion of communities (15%), conflicts prior to the current situation had meant management rules were being broken. In most communities, community-based resource management (CBRM) committees had responded by raising awareness about fisheries rules. In a few cases, communities had increased enforcement or organized activities, such as group harvests. This survey suggests significant capacity for people in provinces to adapt to the situation and feed both usual residents and circular residents. However, because of reduced cash flow and the ongoing situation, there is also growing strain on food systems. This strain is likely to be experienced differently by men and women. The study suggests further research on this, particularly in relation to increased burdens and reduced income. We highlight six ongoing initiatives that can be springboards for further action by government, non government and international actors regarding fisheries to increase resilience and improve the ability of rural communities to respond to the current situation.
Changes and adaptations in village food systems in Solomon Islands: A rapid appraisal during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic
Eriksson, H., Ride, A., Notere Boso, D., Sukulu, M., Batalofo, M., Siota, F., Gomese, C. (2020)