President Irfaan Ali, who is heading the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) towards reducing the Regional food security bill by 25% by 2025, said tremendous progress has been made regarding achieving this goal.
The Head of State noted that a strategic plan has been developed, which clearly outlines each country’s role in achieving this target.
At the 43rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Head of State said there has been discussion on factors hindering the Region’s goal and the way forward.
But he highlighted that while there may have been discussions on these areas, CARICOM countries are willing to commit the finance towards addressing these issues.
“What we have seen is tremendous commitment from the financing side in advancing the food security plan. An integral part of the plan is transportation and logistics, and at this meeting, we are seeing great movement in not only the infrastructure and architecture to bring about the transportation plan and to action, it but also the commitment to advancing the financing and getting this operational as quickly as possible,” the Head of State said during an interview with Caribbean Media Corporation- Dime Network- a Surinamese company.
Regarding the issue of trade barriers, the President said that all the leaders have made a commitment that “The time for discussing and talking to these barriers is over, and we are now working on a strategic time-bound approach in the removal of these barriers.”
When asked how the US$28M pledged by the United States for food security ties into the 25 by 2025 goal, the Head of State said that “Financing is an integral part, but it is not only financing; it is how do we create sustainable financial model that speaks to the existing need in incorporating the future dynamic in food production itself.”
He explained, “We have the issue of technology, technology transfer, research and development and importantly how do we create an agribusiness model that incorporates young people and give young people that option and understanding that Agriculture and food production is not a backward thing, but it is a forward-looking thing, it is profitable, and it has opportunities for them to advance their own career and advance a business processing model as part of it.”
The Head of State attended the two-day meeting in Paramaribo, Suriname, which focused heavily on the issue of food security. He was also joined by leaders of all the countries which make up the CARICOM body.