Food security, a priority for CARICOM

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The Director of Sector Programs at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador David Prendergast, identified food and nutrition security among the top priorities for the Community and highlighted the proactive steps being taken to achieve this goal.

Amb. Prendergast on Tuesday, April 26, addressed a virtual forum to launch the report of the fourth CARICOM/World Food Program survey on the impact of COVID-19 on food security and livelihoods. Since April 2020, the survey has targeted more than 20,000 people across the Region.

The survey revealed that there has been a disruption of livelihoods, negative impacts on income, concerns about food needs, the impact of rising food prices and difficulties in access to the markets.

The results of a survey, Amb Prendergast said, underscored the need for continued regional efforts to address hunger and food insecurity.

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“The survey will serve as an essential planning tool for the region, assist in the development of targeted policies to assist vulnerable groups in the region. It has also highlighted the need to reach low economy clusters and segments in the region who may not have access to internet and connectivity. Taken as a whole, this demonstrates that additional urgent action and support is needed to address regional food and nutrition security and to move forward, said Amb Prendergast.

The proactive steps CARICOM Heads of Government have taken, the Director said, included the development of a COVID-`19 Agribusiness and Action Plan; the establishment of the Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Food Security; the development of a regional food and nutrition tracking tool for CARICOM Member States and the promotion of greater intra-regional trade.

He also alluded to the CARICOM Agricultural Investment Forum and Expo to be held May 19-21, 2022 in Georgetown, Guyana under the theme “Investing in Vision 25 by 2025.”

The theme refers to the Region’s goal of reducing its food import bill by 25% by 2025.

“Achieving a 25% reduction in our food import bill by 2025 targets the significant increase in production of certain key commodities, such as poultry, corn and soybeans, fish, sheep and goats, and a range of fruit and vegetables. The initiatives will also address several cross-cutting issues, such as the removal of various barriers to our internal CARICOM trade, mobilization of finance, development of insurance, market facilitation and transport,” Amb. Prendergast pointed out.

He added that the Heads of Government’s decision recognized that despite its challenges, CARICOM’s agriculture and food sector represented a “clear opportunity to increase investment in primary production, agribusiness, marketing , e-commerce and innovative technologies, among others”. ”

Please consult Amb. Prendergast’s remarks here

Mr. Regis Chapman, Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP) Caribbean Cluster Office; and Ms. Yesim Oruc, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator – Guyana also made remarks during the forum moderated by Ms. Daphne Ewing-Chow.

Source: CARICOM Today Main photo: Archive image

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