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[BLOG] ON FOOD SECURITY

Dev Virahsawmy

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, when we argued in favour of food security, the Labour Party and PMSD pundits simply pooh-poohed us for sugar had a guaranteed price and market and consequently we should grow cane, produce sugar (and rum, of course), export it and with the foreign exchange buy the food we need. There was no need to change.

But the situation did change. We could not compete with beet sugar.

All mainstream parties, including the MMM, toed the line and worshipped King Sugar.

50 years later, food security is on the agenda and the MSM led government is now exploring possibilities.
It’s about time to define concepts and analyse issues.

•    It is fundamental that we grow what we eat and eat what we grow but that is only part of the story.
•    Food security also means “Healthy Eating”. The fast-food culture is wreaking havoc: 45% of the population are overweight if not downright obese.
•    What are the pathologies associated with obesity? “A total of 89 relevant studies were identified. The review found evidence for 18 co-morbidities which met the inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis determined statistically significant associations for overweight with the incidence of type II diabetes, all cancers except esophageal (female), pancreatic and prostate cancer, all cardiovascular diseases (except congestive heart failure), asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and chronic back pain. We noted the strongest association between overweight defined by body mass index (BMI) and the incidence of type II diabetes in females (RR = 3.92 (95% CI: 3.10–4.97)).

Statistically significant associations with obesity were found with the incidence of type II diabetes, all cancers except esophageal and prostate cancer, all cardiovascular diseases, asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and chronic back pain. Obesity defined by BMI was also most strongly associated with the incidence of type II diabetes in females (12.41 (9.03–17.06)).” (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2458-9-88)

FOOD CULTURE MUST CHANGE

1.    Reduce the consumption of rice and wheat flour and promote the intake of locally grown staples such as potato, cassava, sweet potato, arrow root, jackfruit, breadfruit etc.
2.    Avoid red meat and encourage free-range poultry and fish.
3.    Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
4.    Reduce consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Food security is to be associated with a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercises. We need the political will and leadership but above all we must all understand that culture makes us human but cultural sclerosis makes beasts of us all.

We can only hope that in a not too far distant future, there will be no need to sing this sad refrain:

Dal mo done,
Dourri mo done,
Kifer to finn mor 
Tamby?

DEV VIRAHSAWMY
Date: 18.02.22

 

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