President Ali praises CARICOM Secretariat for ‘tremendous support’ to push agriculture

CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett 5th from left) and other dignitaries at the launch

The CARICOM Secretariat’s support for agricultural development in the Community has come in for high praise from Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana. President Ali is the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Agriculture in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.

He lauded the Secretariat, CARICOM Ministers of Agriculture and other officials in his remarks at the launch of the CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum and Expo on 8 April 2022. The Investment Forum will be heled in Georgetown, Guyana 19-21 May under the theme ‘Investing in Vision 25 by 2025′, in reference to the goal of reducing the Region’s food imports by 25% by 2025.

President Ali expressed gratitude to CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett and her team for their “tremendous support” while reiterating Guyana’s commitment.

“I want to say to you, you not only have our commitment from Guyana; as far as our resources would allow us, we are going to provide the financing that is required to help to support the implementation of this strategy because it is key for all of us,” he said.

He added: “It is how we package what we want, and that is what the CARICOM Secretariat and the technical team would be doing, working with every single country to package what we want…We can’t package something, and when investors come, they take ten months to facilitate the process of getting off the ground. That is superficial. That is not what we want to achieve.

“We as leaders in CARICOM have tied ourselves to a timeframe. That should tell you how serious we are about this. We didn’t leave this as an open-ended discussion. We have tied ourselves to that timeframe. We now look forward to the support of all of you in the region, in the private sector, in the field of food production and distribution to work with us,” he told the audience at the well-attended event.

Secretary-General Barnett praised President Ali for driving the process to revitalise agriculture and reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.

The Secretary-General said the Investment Forum was an important step to achieving the clear objective of regional leaders, and would also promote and improve the productivity and resilience of the Region’s agri-food system.

“He has therefore helped the region to send out the clear message that we are serious about the development of the agriculture sector, and by extension our food and nutrition security,” Barnett added.

The forum and expo will bring together investors and other stakeholders who will share information on the specific opportunities that exist for enhanced commercial activities.

It is expected that coming out of the engagement, there will be concrete investment opportunities that can be pursued, and for which the necessary support can be provided.  

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