12 May 2011

Little chance of food security for Kiribati says Australian academic

1:12 pm on 12 May 2011

An Australian academic says Kiribati will continue to need help to feed its population.

The comment follows the signing of a two-million US dollar World Bank emergency food grant intended to assist outer islands residents and to support the development of sustainable programmes for food security and the environment.

Kiribati imports most of its food and has been hit particularly hard by spikes in food and energy prices.

However the emeritus professor at Australian National University's Crawford School, Ron Duncan, says achieving food security in Kiribati is unlikely.

"I can't see a lot of help coming in the form of a grant that will establish farming on a sustainable basis. I think they're going to be just more dependent on donations that allow them to buy on the international market what they need to import."

Ron Duncan says the main hope for the economic survival of countries such as Kiribati is in their small size.