Suriname wants focus on food security, not marijuana

Suriname is not interested in marijuana cultivation
Suriname is not interested in marijuana cultivation

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation of Suriname says the focus of agriculture in the 15-member body at this time should be food security rather than marijuana cultivation.

CARICOM has set up a commission to examine the decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

However, marijuana cultivation was not discussed at last week’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) meeting, which formed part of Caribbean Week (CWA) of Agriculture, which took place from Oct. 6 to 12.

Paramaribo’s Minister of Agriculture, Soeresh Algoe outlined his position on the marijuana debate as he responded to a question during the closing press conference of CWA on Friday.

“As Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of Suriname, at this moment, we know we have to give the people of our region food security. We know that we have problems with fertile soil. We know that our food import bill is too high. So when we talk about marijuana, personally, for Suriname, I [do] not agree at this moment to [say] let our farmers start producing marijuana. What we are stimulating is produce food for our people,” he said.

Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Derrick Kellier, who is chair of COTED, told reporters during the same press conference that marijuana agriculture was not on the agenda of the meeting.

“That was not on the agenda and we did not discuss that matter,” Kellier said.

“It may be discussed in our individual territories at different levels, but at a grouping we did not discuss that particular issue,” he said.

And, Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Manorma Soeknandan noted at the press conference that CARICOM has established a regional working group on the marijuana question, but added that it was not on the agenda of last week’s COTED talks.

“We have had several working groups, and as far as I am aware, none of the working groups this issue was even brought to the table, as far as I know — the ones I attended and the reports I got,” she said.

“There is a working group, member states have nominated the members, they have to then liaise with all the stakeholders and we have to take it from there. In the meantime, of course, there might be certain groups that are more advanced in way of thinking and theory, etc., but it is will take some time,” Soeknandan said.

“I don’t think right now we should overemphasize — I am not saying it is not important. It is very important, it is crucial, especially the commercial value, and that’s why the heads have agreed to establish a working group and take it from there. But we have to involve all the stakeholders and take it from there,” she said.

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  1. gman
    December 6, 2014

    we need to focus on food security as well as revenue generation therefore we need to legalize and control the marijuana in the region

  2. Yoland J J
    October 14, 2014

    i support Surinam because if we take our focus out on food to feed the Carribbean and place it on decimalizing Marijuana then we will have an entire Caribbean of young Paros and hungry people The leaders should change their minds about legalizing that marijuana rubbish or all the countries finish. imagine our young people given that right none of them will find work because they all will be high and hungry. Don’t destroy our young people please.

    • Silver bird
      October 16, 2014

      Marijuana is for losers.

  3. Barbara Saunders
    October 14, 2014

    I’m glad that at least one country is voicing its reservation because, for the life of me, I cannot understand that with all of the issues facing CARICOM such as Ebola and those before Ebola reared its head, it should see discussion of Marijuana as its top priority.

    I note a reference in the article to the commercial value of marijuana but can someone tell me what would be the economic benefit of making money out of selling marijuana and then have to turn around and spend twice as much either to rehabilitate those who have abused it and have lost their minds and faculties because it would be freely available or have to use the resources derived to regulate its use for let’s say, medicinal purposes and to prevent abuse.

    Perhaps CARICOM is thinking of economic ventures in marijuana to entities outside the region, thus protecting its own people from the effects which are evident everyday on the streets of Roseau and I am sure other CARICOM capitals, just as drug lords are reputed not to themselves use the drugs which they peddle to everybody else.

    • Marley's ghost
      October 14, 2014

      …..go tell that to Colorado nuh? 8) 8) they earn money by selling marijuana :lol: :lol: ….one country “is voicing its reservation”, so what? you can call it democracy or mob rule…. when the majority decides, it MUST be legalised :-P …..and why talk about drug lords/paros when it comes to herbs? Words like Jah, Rasta and Culture would seem to be more appropriate. :wink:

      October 15, 2014

      Nothing you said is true. I think you’re confusing marijuana with hard drugs like crack, heroin or cocaine. Marijuana was put into the category as a drug through law and ignorance… it is not a drug its an herb. A plant. Not one person on this planet in its entire history has died from marijuana use. It is not addictive, your personality may be addictive not the herb. There is soo much to say about this issue, its become very clear in the US that marijuana is not a drug. At this point most states has some form of medical marijuana and are taking steps to legalize it.

    • October 22, 2014

      Cannabis is the ONLY crop that produces complete nutrition and sustainable biofuels from the same harvest. That means hemp is the ONLY crop that does not induce food insecurity while producing sustainable biofuels. Does anyone get how critically important hemp nutrition is? Did you know that hemp is the ONLY source of edestin protein? and the BEST source of Essential Fatty Acids” Do you understand how critical is the need to heal the atmosphere with Cannabis agriculture? If you don’t then please educate yourself about the true value of Cannabis before taking a stand against it. It is understandable that people who were born into “Reefer Madness” would be afflicted by the propaganda, but it is not excusable to remain ignorant in the computer age. Google “hemp seed nutrition” and “global broiling” to understand more.

    October 14, 2014

    The cultivation needs for marijuana versus food crops are vastly different. The Suriname ministers statement is born out of ignorance. Also food security is not an issue in the Caribbean, nobody in the Caribbean is starving. A few may be hungry from poverty but not starved. Even if you grow more food that does not mean the people who need it will have access to it. With the cultivation of Hemp and marijuana they will have the jobs, tax revenue and means to purchase what they need. The ministers low level thinking of an existence of subsistence is a backward mentality of small minded people that don’t have the vision or capacity to imagine concepts that are new or revolutionary. It does not represent the majority of Caribbean people and has no place in our future. dats my word!

    • Barbara Saunders
      October 14, 2014


      To sell to whom? and at the expense of the destruction of whose children? Don’t you live in Dominica, with all your apparent forward thinking and new vision? Officials of the Ministry of Health have been talking about the deleterious effects of marijuana abuse although it is an illicit drug I certainly don’t need a crystal ball to see into a future of lawful national cultivation of the herb. I have also followed television discussions emanating from the US where research has been conducted.

      Of course marijuana has beneficial properties which can be harnessed. do we have the resources to do so while simultaneously guarding the population against abuse of it?

      I don’t care how forward thinking you and other advocates are I believe what I see everyday with my own eyes and the knowledge that I have of the destruction of families when their young children get addicted! Long and short of it for me!

      • October 22, 2014

        Every problem anyone has ever had with ‘marijuana’ has taken place in the context of the “drug war.” WAKE UP! “forbidden fruit”is always more expensive and more attractive to young people. The black market gangsters and corrupt courts LOVE prohibitionists like you. You are cheerleading to make marijuana a “forbidden fruit.” So does that mean YOU are responsible for people who “wreck their lives” with marijuana? Or are the people who “wreck” their lives with marijuana responsible for their own lives and the poor choices they make? If you crash your car, do you blame the road or the car?

    • Titiwi
      October 14, 2014

      Up till now I thought you were just deranged but obviously you are smoking pot as well. That is a very dangerous combination ask Dr. Benjamin.

  5. Anonymous
    October 14, 2014

    Mr. Algoe YOUR opinion leaves much to be desired and borders on a piece that was not fully researched. In this information age your preparation through research should have led you to note that (1) the nutritional value of Cannabis sativa (“hemp”) is recognized as “strategic” in Executive Order 13603, signed by President Obama on March 16, 2012. It is the latest in a collection of seven Executive Orders signed by seven American presidents, that identify “hemp” as a “strategic food resource.” (2) The complete nutrition offered by Cannabis hemp is the first reason to focus on this under-regarded organic crop, but there are several more reasons to take an honest look at the potential for a global campaign emphasizing Cannabis agriculture. (3) Cannabis is the only crop to provide complete nutrition and sustainable biofuels from the same harvest. This means that food security and nutrition is improved at the same time that bioenergy is sustainably, organically produced.
    The reason to regard hemp has to do with the climate change mitigation potential of atmospheric aerosols produced by Cannabis; and an extraordinary carbon sequestration potential of 9 tons per acre, per growing season.

    In effect, every available means for assessing the true value of Cannabis agriculture, manufacture and trade, in addressing food security, nutrition and climate change, must be implemented immediately, before the time “window of opportunity” described in the UN’s IPCC report closes on our ability to have an effect.–26

  6. JoJo
    October 14, 2014

    I consider Suriname a rogue state but in all fairness, they are right on the ball here.

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