Jamaica elected vice-chair at 36th FAO Regional Conference

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Jamaica elected vice-chair at 36th FAO Regional Conference

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green has been unanimously voted as vice-chair of the 36th Regional Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Green in representing Jamaica, urged the FAO to utilise its capacity in resource mobilisation to help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the challenges they face.

The minister was speaking on Day 1 of the three-day regional conference yesterday.

“It is critical that the FAO plays a leading role in helping us across the region to transform our food systems through establishing appropriate storage and distribution mechanisms including cold chain systems, to ensure that there is food security and a resilient supply chain across the islands of the region,” Green said in his address in the session of the Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC) to the FAO.

The conference, which is being hosted by Nicaragua, brings together ministers of agriculture from the regions to combat the challenges related to food and agriculture, while strengthening regional ties with member states.

Green said the FAO has to accelerate the pace of implementation of the actions that were agreed on at the previous sessions of the FAO conference. He highlighted that one such critical programme is the Home-grown School feeding Programme, which is a priority to control non-communicable diseases.

The minister said that another main priority of his ministry, and by extension the Government of Jamaica, is to enhance its work on achieving climate resilient and sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

“We look to the FAO to help our farmers and farm families to incorporate climate smart technologies in the region and also with crop insurance to help our farmers deal with climate change,” Green declared.

He added that, “We also hope to support artisanal fishers to ensure food security and to support the improvement in research and development.”

At the seminar, the minister spoke to impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and the farmers and fisher folk in the country and the region at large. He highlighted the Government of Jamaica's Buy-Back Programme aimed at purchasing excess produce from farmers impacted by the coronavirus. He underscored the importance of programmes by government bodies to support local farmers and fisher folk, and the most vulnerable in our societies.

“We believe the FAO is well placed to incorporate young people and women in agriculture to achieve zero hunger,” the minister said.

The meeting is being chaired by Nicaragua and co-chaired by Jamaica and Ecuador. In 2018, Jamaica hosted the 35th staging of the conference, marking its first time being held in the Caribbean region in 20 years.

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