BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 16, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries say they have reached a consensus on policy objectives for agriculture that would allow for improved food and nutrition security.
CARICOM agriculture ministers recently met with their counterparts from Latin America in Argentina at the 32nd Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) regional conference.
A statement issued by the FAO Monday said that the Caribbean countries say the new policy objective would result in a transformation of the sector towards market-oriented, internationally competitive and environmentally sound production of agriculture products as well as increased production, productivity and world market share.
The regional countries also said that the policy would allow for increased diversification of processed agriculture products as well as improved food and nutrition security.
The conference examined the main factors characteristic of the region’s agricultural sector including its high vulnerability to natural climatic and economic shocks; fisheries and forestry being critical components of agriculture; high food import bill; rising and volatility of the prices of food; and high levels of poverty, malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.
“In terms of the way forward for the Caribbean agricultural sector, several priority areas were proposed. For example, with regard to food and nutrition security, an increase in production and productivity through promotion of sustainable agricultural systems and enterprises, post harvest technologies and storage was proposed,” the FAO statement said.
It said there was also need for greater promotion of changes in consumption patterns and the right to food and that in the area of Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change, there were recommendations regarding the promotion of climate smart agriculture, and fisheries and forestry best practices on a platform of South-South and Triangular cooperation.
“Recommendations were also put forward in the areas of small scale agriculture, where the promotion of backyard and school gardening; and improved access to markets were discussed; as well as agricultural health and food safety. “
The FAO said that the 33rd Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Chile in 2014.