Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says the ministry will continue to partner with local and international stakeholders to transform Jamaica's food systems in order to ensure food security.
“We are serious at the ministry in working with our European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) partners and across sectors and the Government, to ensure that we reimagine agriculture and fisheries, that we reshape our food systems to make them more sustainable, more equitable, more inclusive especially for our youth and women, more resilient against environment challenges, and more efficient in developing value chains, which can maximise the returns to our rural families and truly transform rural communities,” he said.
Green was addressing Tuesday's opening ceremony for the virtual workshop on 'Catalysing the Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation of Food Systems' in Jamaica.
The food system incorporates all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population from growing to harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, distribution and disposal of food and food-related items.
“In transforming our food systems, we will transform Jamaica and ensure that Jamaica fulfils its Vision 2030 mandate while also ensuring that we achieve our UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Green said.
He noted that the transformation is critical, as the country's food systems are susceptible to extreme weather events associated with climate change such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, among others.
He cited the recent passage of Tropical Storms Grace and Ida, which resulted in significant damage to the sector totalling approximately $1 billion.
“As I interacted with the farmers, I couldn't help but marvel about how the message was the same; never had they before seen such intensity of rains in this August period and, as such, our farmers who planted and were ready to reap before the usual September rains are now left suffering loss. So, we have to work together to see how we can make our food systems more resilience,” he said.
The Government of Jamaica in collaboration with the FAO, EU, and the French Agriculture Research Centre for Development (CIRAD), launched a food system assessment in the country in mid-July 2021.
The assessment aims to build a consistent, systemic, and integrated narrative reflecting a better understanding of the underlying causes and drivers of Jamaica's food systems.
The workshop, another step in this process, sought to develop a shared view of Jamaica's food systems and identify future interventions to improve development and sustainability.