Achieving food security of CARICOM’s main priority: Dr Carla Barnett

The Secretary-General of CARICOM- Dr Carla Barnett, addressed the launch of the European Union- CARIFORUM on the Food Security Programme.

Dr Carla Barnett addressed CARIFORUM on the Food Security Programme. Picture Credits: Google Images
Dr Carla Barnett addressed CARIFORUM on the Food Security Programme. Picture Credits: Google Images

The Secretary-General of CARICOM- Dr Carla Barnett, addressed the launch of the European Union- CARIFORUM on the Food Security Programme. While speaking at the launch on Thursday in Guyana, she stressed that achieving food security is one of the major priorities of CARICOM.

Dr Barnett stated that food security has become one of the primary priorities of the Caribbean region.

She added that the CARICOM countries’ strategy is to achieve their goal of reducing 25% of food import bills by the year 2025. The Secretary-General also stated that CARICOM also aims to enhance cross-border investments in agro-processing, agricultural production, transportation and logistics.

While shedding light on CARICOM’s future plans, she stated that it is estimated that an investment of US$ 4 billion is required to achieve this goal.

Moreover, the CARICOM region also welcomed the European Union’s decision to alleviate the effects of the food crisis. European Union’s decision was to mobilize EUR 600 million from the reserves of the European Development Fund as support for the Member States of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

CARICOM Secretary-General Barnett added that they also welcomed European Union’s decision of ringfencing EUR 27 million to support the CARIFORUM states.

Dr Barnett stated that the region is currently facing a food crisis because of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, high energy prices and disruptions of supply chain. She stated that such situations have brought food insecurity for people.

It was also mentioned by Dr Barnett that CARIFORUM food security is expected to contribute in several ways including:

– By investing in the solutions of food production
– Enhancing agriculture and fisheries value chains at both local and regional levels.
– Improving food processing capabilities to increase the distribution of food.

Discussing the report of UN Global Crises Response Group, Barnett said that the global food accessibility might worsen by the global food availability issues.

Dr Barnett added that Caribbean countries are particularly at risk because most of the member countries of CARICOM are importers of food.

She said that CARICOM member countries are highly dependent on the food imports so there are several challenges they face such as high trade costs, financing and climate change.

As per the her, the food programme emphasizes on the implementation of CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 initiative in order to remove all the obstacles which new and modern technologies face.