By Ricardo Wells
Tribune Staff Reporter
FAO Director General Dr Jose Graziano da Silva yesterday reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to help countries in the Caribbean overcome their “development challenges” and tackle the multiple dimensions of food insecurity in the region.
“At the international level, ending hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity is one of FAO’s global goals and drives our programme of work,” Dr Graziano da Silva added.
At the regional level, we have the Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative. At the Caricom level, we have the Caricom Food and Nutrition Security Action Plan approved in 2011.”
The director general said since 1990 the “prevalence of undernourishment” in Caricom nations declined by about 7 per cent, from 27 to 20 per cent. Despite this decrease, he said, there is still roughly 7.5 million people suffering from hunger in the region.
“The strategies you are developing and implementing bring a comprehensive view that tackle the multiple dimensions of food insecurity, and propose to deal with its root causes as well as its consequences. This is a winning combination and the FAO is proud to play an active part in all these efforts.”
Dr Graziano da Silva spoke during the opening ceremony of the Conference for Caricom Agricultural ministers at the historic British Colonial Hilton.
He said the conference was an opportunity for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to conduct a deeper review of programmes at work in the Caribbean.
The conference also supports the formal discussions and priority setting that will take place at the next FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to agriculture minister, V Alfred Gray, the meeting will chart the way forward for Caricom’s new agriculture thrust.
Mr Gray said: “The policy framework of this New Agriculture thrust for the Caribbean should be reflected in each country’s agribusiness plan which has or must be evolved as to the dictates of that country’s need.”
“The quest to achieve this New Agriculture for our region, must always keep these three ideals, as the signposts as we journey on, with the assistance of our international partners, to regional self-sufficiency in food.”
Minister Gray and Dr Godfrey Eneas, The Bahamas Ambassador to FAO and Executive Chairman of BAMSI, will host the delegation of Ministers at The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) today.
The delegation will tour the commercial farm, marine farm, plant nursery and meet the students faculty and staff at the site.