Land And Food Central To Melanesian Culture, Identity

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Regional meeting in Vanuatu decries land grabs, fast food

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 17, 2014) – Representatives from Melanesia Maluku, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kanaky and Fiji came together on Lelepa Island in Vanuatu on the 10-14 of March to hold a meeting on Slow Food and Land in Melanesia.

This was sponsored by The Christensen Fund and Oxfam.

The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Lands Mr Ralph Regenvanu who is also the founder of Melanesian Indigenous Land Defence Alliance (MILDA), with the call for indigenous people to care for their land and food as these are their identities.

Land grabbing and land registration is becoming a big concern for the indigenous people of Melanesia with huge tracks of land in PNG being grabbed by loggers, oil palm and other industries.

Likewise in the Solomon Islands land reform programs and in Vanuatu we are faced with land being taken by real estates and people leasing out their land without proper consultations and the other scrupulous land dealings either by state or by individuals. The meeting was on slow food and focuses more on the importance of food in Melanesian societies.

Slow Food talks more on the traditional food and how we can use these more to feed our families and promote them in our communities.

It is to discourage people to go for fast food and help promote what is rightly theirs and passed these to their children.

The meeting ended with the call for all Melanesians to prepare for the Slow Food Festival in India to show case Melanesian Food and how these are prepared. It also ended with a declaration on land in Melanesia.

The meeting was closed by MP for Rural Efate Mr Kilion William yesterday.

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