Caribbean ministers of agriculture meet to discuss food insecurity
MINISTERS of agriculture across the Caribbean this week gathered at the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to discuss how the region going forward will reduce food insecurity concerns as it builds partnerships around the issue.
The ministers, who participated in a working meeting with IICA Director General Manuel Otero, explored cooperation opportunities with Latin America to reduce food insecurity levels in the Caribbean region. They also discussed actions focused on increasing the productivity and resilience of food production in Caribbean countries, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
The ministers, who were physically or virtually present for Tuesday’s meeting held in Costa Roca, included: Antigua and Barbuda’s Chet Greene; Barbados’s Indar Weir; Dominica’s Roland Royer; Grenada’s Adrian Thomas; Guyana’s Zulfikar Mustapha; Haiti’s Charlot Bredy; Jamaica’s Floyd Green; Dominican Republic’s Limber Cruz; St Kitts and Nevis’s Samal Mojah Duggins; St Lucia’s Alfred Prospere; St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Saboto Caesar; and Trinidad and Tobago’s Avinash Singh.
With more than 39 million people in the Latin American and Caribbean region said to be undernourished, affecting less than 5 per cent of most populations or over 45 per cent as is the case in Haiti, Otero, at a previous OAS assembly, said that urgent action and constant attention on matters related to food and nutrition security in the region were of utmost importance.
“Working together with the member countries of the Inter-American System to promote food and nutrition security in the hemisphere is part of IICA’s mission. Latin America and the Caribbean must take on pending tasks in order to guarantee food and nutrition security for their inhabitants,” he stated.
Of the IICA’s 34 member states, 14 are Caribbean nations, all of which are currently undertaking serious efforts to reduce their historical dependence on food import.
The IICA, which has been playing its role to help countries solve the challenges to achieving zero hunger globally, has stressed that this requires a redesigning of the Caribbean’s food supply chain in a way that considers water, energy and food security.
“These topics are intricately related in terms of synergies, linkages and trade-offs. Water is a finite resource, yet both agriculture and energy depend heavily on it; tackling the food security challenge necessitates efficiency measures to reduce water and energy consumption, yet simultaneously increasing yields and nutrition,” the hemispheric agency focused on agriculture and rural development said.