Food security a Community priority
CARICOM Secretariat Director of Sectoral Programmes, Ambassador David Prendergast, has identified food and nutrition security among the highest priorities of the Community and has highlighted the proactive measures being taken to achieve that goal.
Amb. Prendergast on Tuesday 26 April addressed a virtual forum to launch the report of the fourth CARICOM/World Food Programme COVID-19 Food Security and Livelihoods Impact Survey. Since April 2020, the survey has targeted more than 20 000 persons across the Region.
The survey revealed that there has been disruption in livelihoods, negative impacts on income, concerns about food needs, impact of increasing food prices, and challenges accessing markets.
The results of a survey, Amb Prendergast said, highlighted the need for a continuation of the regional efforts to tackle hunger and food insecurity.
“The Survey will serve as a critical planning tool for the region, assist in the further development of targeted policies to help the vulnerable groups in the region. It has also highlighted the need to reach the low economic groupings and segments across the Region who may not have access to internet and connectivity. Overall, it demonstrates that further urgent action and support are needed in addressing Regional Food and Nutrition Security and to build forward better,” Amb Prendergast said.
The proactive measures CARICOM Heads of Government have been taking, the Director said, included a development of a COVID-`19 Agri-food and Action Plan; the establishment of the Special Ministerial TaskForce on Food Production and Food Security; the Development of a regional Food and Nutrition Monitoring Tool for CARICOM Member States and the Promotion of greater intra-regional trade. He also alluded to the CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum and Expo to be held 19-21 May 2022, in Georgetown, Guyana, under the theme ‘Investing in Vision 25 by 2025. The theme references the Region’s target to reduce its food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
“The achievement of a 25 percent reduction in our food import bill by 2025 targets the significantly increased production of some key products, such as poultry, corn and soya, fish, sheep and goats, and a range of fruit and vegetable products. Initiatives will also address several cross-cutting issues, such as the removal of various barriers to our internal CARICOM trade, mobilising financing, developing insurance, market facilitation and transportation,” Amb. Prendergast pointed out.
He added that the decision by Heads of Government recognised that despite its challenges, the agriculture-food sector in CARICOM represented a “clear opportunity for increased investment in primary production, agro-processing, marketing, e-commerce and innovative technologies, among others.”
Please see Amb. Prendergast’s remarks here
Mr. Regis Chapman, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director Caribbean Multi-Country Office; and Ms. Yesim Oruc, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator – Guyana also made remarks at the forum that Ms. Daphne Ewing-Chow moderated.