Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called on governments in the region to take actions and decisions to help transform the agricultural sector.
He was delivering remarks at the opening ceremony of CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum & Expo in Guyana on Thursday.
“The actions and the decision to help transform agriculture and give farmers that comfort and that confidence that they so need, is within our hands and I think we need to, as part of the process of advancing this very lofty and welcomed initiative lead by the President of Guyana of which I am in total and absolute support of,” the Prime Minister said.
He said the actions which need to be taken should be itemized and taken.
“Because if we are to allow CARICOM – our ordinary folks – to feel that they are part of an integration process, especially our farmers and fisherfolk, they must be able to benefit from that process.”
According to him, Dominica can supply the region with a wide variety of products at affordable prices and safeguard the health of the region.
“All of the extra regional imports of agricultural produce with chemicals in it is what is causing a lot of the health problems in the region we have today,” Skerrit stated.
He pointed out that there is a high rate of obesity in the region caused by the foods people consume.
“We are scared of Covid-19, but we should be really scared in the Caribbean of diabetes and hypertension,” he remarked. “So this initiative is not only about economics, it is also about the well-being, the welfare of every citizen in the Caribbean region.”
Meantime, the Dominica prime minister is encouraging regional governments to purchase agricultural produce within their country in order to benefit farmers.
“We, as a government speak about helping farmers, but in the process of attracting jobs in the tourism industry, we give concessions to these hotels to import food from outside the region,” he explained. “Can we not address this and say let us first buy from your country and that which you cannot find in your country you can find it from a brotherly or sisterly country within the CARICOM?”
The YouTube video of the opening of Car-forum can be viewed below. PM Skerrit’s address is at 2:13:08 on the time code.