GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – President Dr Irfaan Ali on Friday urged Caribbean countries to move away from consuming low-quality food and called on people in the region to consume agricultural products grown in the region of the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
Addressing the Regional Dialogue on Food Systems, which is a precursor to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit scheduled for September, President Ali said it was time for the Caribbean to remember the importance of eating foods. local products and use products with the 15 regional members. regrouping.
“We cannot continue to eat third grade or second grade when we can produce first grade… we have to be brave to solve these problems. We can no longer walk on the sidelines, ”said Ali, delivering the keynote speech during the regional dialogue.
The Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat has partnered with key regional stakeholders including United Nations Resident Coordinators, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Food Program Global (WFP) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to host the virtual event.
Farmers, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, businesses and civil society participated in the event, with CARICOM agriculture ministers chairing the three sessions on climate change, Caribbean food systems, finance and financing the Caribbean’s new food systems, as well as food production and security, a Caribbean imperative.
The Caricom Secretariat said the ideas, solutions and action plans emanating from this dialogue will feed into the global forum which is part of the Decade of Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Ali, who has primary responsibility for agriculture at the cabinet quasi Caricom, said that while efforts can be made in the region to tackle food security, Caricom needs the help of external agencies, especially in light of its vulnerability to climate change.
“The Caribbean region has been named the second most risk-prone region in the world, largely due to its vulnerability and exposure to multiple extreme and frequent events,” Ali said, adding: “it is therefore imperative to pay attention to the construction. climate resilience in order to transform the region’s agrifood systems ”.
He said progress towards achieving the SDGs requires a commitment from all member states for positive action on climate change.
He recalled the Jagdeo initiative, dating from 2007, which is a strategy to remove obstacles to the development of agriculture in the Caribbean. It builds on past regional efforts to develop a common agricultural policy (CAP) and identifies ten main binding constraints facing the sector.
“Foremost among these constraints was limited funding and new investments in the sector. The initiative proposed the creation of a fund to modernize regional agriculture. But funding for regional agriculture cannot be dissociated from funding for climate resilience, ”he said.
He said the success of the regional effort in agriculture will depend on the degree of international support, especially with regard to funding for building a more resilient agricultural sector.
“Financing for sustainable development is of equal importance,” he said, recalling an intervention he made at a high-level United Nations conference earlier this week on the extractive sector.
“I said then that without better access to finance, the efforts of small states to honor their commitments under the Paris Agreement … will be derailed.”
He urged countries in the region to seize the opportunities of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September to link greater resilience with increased access to finance for sustainable development.
Ali said the Caribbean “must add its voice to the full implementation of the Addis Abba Platform for Action for a third international conference on financing for development. He said there was also a need for more core funding for the creation of a climate change vulnerability fund.