(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has approved the Regional Agriculture Emergency Response Sub-Committee to provide prompt action to help the agriculture sector in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States to rebound after natural disasters.
Approval came at the 71st Special Meeting of the COTED on Agriculture held at the CARICOM Secretariat on Friday, 6 October, 2017.
The Sub-Committee will include representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD), the Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVET), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). Belize and Antigua and Barbuda will also be represented on the sub-committee.
Its establishment is among the efforts to create greater resilience and part of the strategy for emergency assistance to the agriculture sector. The approval was given as the Region grapples with the devastating impact of hurricanes this season. The sectors in Barbuda and Dominica were decimated when Hurricanes Irma and Maria, respectively, made landfall on the two islands.
Among the matters for which the sub-committee will have responsibility are developing protocols to safeguard human and livestock health and coordinating technical support for the rehabilitation of sectors. The Committee will also work closely with CDEMA in assisting in the mobilisation of resources with International and Regional Development Partners to acquire planting and other materials for quick start-up of short-term food crops and livestock production.
It is more apparent that the Community’s response to natural disasters must embrace wider adoption of innovations on Climate Smart Agriculture. Ministers endorsed the development of a climate smart agriculture regional training programme to re-orient extension officers and members of farmers’ groups. The programme is to be developed by the University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Guyana (UG) and CARDI.