Regional leaders should not be seduced by decrease in food prices– Jagdeo
Regional leaders should not be ‘seduced’ by the decrease in commodity prices, President Bharrat Jagdeo has said. He urged that agriculture continues to be placed as a high priority by governments in the Caribbean.
During a recent press conference, the Head of State said that during the recent Intercessional Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Belize there was a commitment that there would be continuous focus on agriculture.
“I secured a commitment from the heads that they will continue to focus on agriculture as an important sector in their economies.”
This, he said, is as a result of the importance of the sector given the need for food security in the future and also given the need to transform the sector to make it a competitive export earning industry.
According the President, the memories of panic the region had experienced when there was the rapid escalation in food prices, is a reminder of how important food security is for the Caribbean.
“They all recognised the dangers to Caribbean Food Security in the future given what is happening in the world.”
The upward trends and pressures that will be put on prices in years to come, he said, will serve as factors involved when production starts to shrink.
“We (Guyana) plan to keep agriculture high on our list of priorities because food security is very important for our country.”
As part of the initiative to stay food secure, early last year Guyana launched a ‘Grow More’ campaign.
This was also in response to the shortage of food on the world market and the resultant drastic increases in prices.
The ‘Grow More’ campaign sought to encourage citizens to cultivate kitchen gardens to subsidise the amount spent on vegetables.
The commercial aspect sought to link farmers with markets in order for them to produce specific crops in demand for a specific market.
As part of food security for the region, the Jagdeo initiative was launched some years ago.
The Jagdeo Initiative is a practical instrument to put in motion the Regional Transformation Programme on Agriculture (RTP) or its successor, the Caribbean Community Agriculture Policy.
The Initiative began in 2002 when President Jagdeo sought assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in consultation with the CARICOM Secretariat for assistance in repositioning agriculture in the Region.