Caribbean Ministers of Agriculture to gather in Costa Rica to discuss how to reduce food insecurity and build bridges with Latin America

The Ministers will discuss actions aimed at increasing the productivity and resilience of food production in Caribbean countries, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change

Ministers of Agriculture of the Caribbean will gather this Tuesday at the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in San Jose, Costa Rica. The ministers will participate in working meetings with Manuel Otero, Director General of the hemispheric agency specializing in agricultural and rural development, with a view to exploring cooperation opportunities with Latin America to reduce food insecurity levels in the Caribbean region.

The ministers will also exchange views and information on the outlook for the agriculture sector in the various countries, and will discuss current and future IICA actions aimed at increasing the productivity and resilience of food production in Caribbean countries, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Fourteen of IICA’s 34 Member States are Caribbean nations, all of which are undertaking efforts to reduce their historical dependence on food imports.

The meeting will include a presentation on the main challenges facing agriculture and rural development in the Caribbean by specialists of the Public Policy Observatory for Agrifood Systems (OPSAa). Launched by IICA in 2022, the initiative has become an important tool for helping countries navigate a period of uncertainty and instability triggered by a confluence of crises.

Participating in the meeting, both in person and virtually, will be the Ministers of Agriculture of Antigua and Barbuda, Chet Greene; Barbados, Indar Weir; Dominica, Roland Royer; Grenada, Adrian Thomas; Guyana, Zulfikar Mustapha; Haiti, Charlot Bredy; Jamaica, Floyd Green; Dominican Republic, Limber Cruz; St. Kitts and Nevis, Samal Mojah Duggins; St. Lucia, Alfred Prospere; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saboto Caesar; Suriname, Parmanand Sewdien; Trinidad and Tobago, Avinash Singh; and Belize, Jose Abelardo Mai. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of The Bahamas, David Cates, will also participate.

Prelude to the Executive Committee meeting

The meeting of Caribbean ministers will be held prior to the Forty-third Regular Meeting of IICA’s Executive Committee, which will be held on July 19 and 20 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

One of IICA’s governing bodies, the Executive Committee meets once a year. It is comprised of 12 Member States, elected for two-year terms according to the principles of partial rotation and equitable geographical distribution.

Indar Weir, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Barbados, will assume a two-year chairmanship of the Executive Committee at its meeting, which will be attended by ministers and senior agricultural officials from the hemisphere.

The Hemispheric Initiative on Water and Agriculture, which will seek to develop tools to mitigate the consequences of the water deficit in the hemisphere, will be launched during the event.

About IICA

IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.

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1 Comment

  1. Jonathan Y St Jean
    July 18, 2023

    As an agricultural scientist I’m not impressed that our islands keep on talking the talk when it comes to modern agriculture. To begin with optics do matter, and we are stuck fronting a guy with a hoe across his back to highlight agriculture in these parts. We need to move beyond this primitive mindset to cultivate a more modern and efficient agriculture sector. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for hoe and rain fed agricultural practices. It looks sexy but doesn’t do enough to reduce the high food import bills we have.
    Secondly, what has happened to the wise concept of “competitive advantage”? The large islands of Latin America with large tracks of land will be able to produce many everyday staples cheaper than guys with a hoe can. Other countries like China, also have peasant and small scale agriculture so what are we learning from them to make out production more efficient? We can start by changing out optics and mind set towards agriculture in Dominica and the region.

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