The eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, goal one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adumbrated by the United Nations for attainment by 2015, has been realised by Guyana.
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, has said that Guyana welcomes the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO’s) recognition of the country’s progress in attaining food security and described the accomplishment as one which many first world countries have been able to attain.
Minister Persaud noted that success in this regard was wrought ‘through astute planning and leadership’ as evident in Government’s recognition of the urgent need for a comprehensive national package of interventions in the face of the consequences of climate change and international economic downturn.
Pointing to the ‘Grow More” campaign, the Minister noted that the initiative was part of Government’s efforts to shield the domestic population from the adverse impacts of the onset of rapidly rising food prices in 2008 and weak international action
to combat the crisis.
It was in this context too, that a Special Select Committee on the Impact of Global Food Price Increases was appointed, headed by the Agriculture Minister and tasked with the constant monitoring of this emerging situation and making recommendations on future actions.
Minister Persaud directed that any national response must address the areas of production, consumption and storage and should provide coherence and co-ordination to the work of the many Ministries, state agencies, NGOs and private sector that work in these areas.
Important too in this regard were the non subversion of the existing markets and the private sector; and the sustainability of the programmes and activities designed and effected.
The Committee agreed to embark on a profound reform to strengthen and co-ordinate expertise and action in the fight against hunger and food and nutrition insecurity, Minister Persaud said.
The Ministry of Agriculture has since been spearheading the food, nutrition and security initiative which has seen the implementation of several major projects that directly address issues pertaining to food security within the context of the ‘Grow More’ campaign.
The Agricultural Export Diversification Programme (US$21.9M), the Agricultural Support Services Programme (US$22M), the Rural Enterprise Development Project (US$6M) and the Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (US$650,000) are some of the major programmes, the Minister said.
Recognising that more can be done to completely eradicate hunger and poverty in Guyana, the Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken the drafting of a Food and Nutrition
Security Ten Year Strategy document.
It offers opportunities for a wider range of national stakeholders to play a more prominent role in combating hunger and food insecurity.
According to Minister Persaud, the Government of Guyana will continue its emphasis on all people accessing affordable food through a vibrant and competitive agriculture sector. Guyana also stands ready to support sister CARICOM states and beyond.
Adopted by world leaders in 2000, the MDGs are tailored by each signatory country to suit specific developmental needs. The eight goals provide a framework for the entire international community to work towards the common purpose of making sure human development reaches every one, every where.
In addition to the most recent accomplishment, Guyana has already attained universal primary education.
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