Guyana: A special Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) meeting on Agriculture was addressed by the President of the country, Dr Irfaan Ali, via video conferencing, on February 4.
The meeting was in CARICOM Quasi Cabinet; during the meet, President emphasized the importance of achieving the target of food importation to be decreased by 25 percent by the year 2025.
While addressing the 101st Special Meeting of the COTED in CARICOM, President stressed that at this time, leaders should work as a cohesive unit.
He said that we all are together in this; it is not an individual who wants to try to achieve something.
The President said, “Either we are serious about the issue or not – we have to decide. This is collective; this is about us being successful together.” “We cannot achieve anything if full participation is not here”.
Currently, Guyana is at the top position for Agriculture, Agricultural Diversification, and Food Security in CARICOM, and the country has been working towards achieving the regional body’s quest to reduce its food import bill.
President further discussed about the updates by the Special Ministerial Taskforce (MTF) on Food Production and Security.
Further, the representatives were asked to identify the areas of interest and brought up an action plan that would indeed increase the food production in the country. The representatives were also invited to share the drawbacks in each category.
President Ali requested the leaders in the meeting to find a concrete decision to move forward as the intention of the country is to mobilize the technical help and financial resources in order to achieve the desired target.
The progress report was provided by the Chairman of the MTF, Mustapha, in which he announced to date work of the task force and Agriculture Ministers and other senior CARICOM Region officials shared the details about country’s contributing towards the agriculture-related issues.
Meanwhile, Dr Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, applauded the positive contribution of the participants. She further said that suggestions of each member should be addressed to acquire specific needs.
The special meeting was attended by Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd, along with President. Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud; Director of Projects at the Office of the President, Mrs Marcia Nadir-Sharma, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, and International Cooperation Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, and other officials were also at the President’s office.