May 22, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The Dominican Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has urged heads of government in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to implement regulations that will force the sale of regional produce in supermarkets.
This charge was given at the opening of the three-day inaugural Agri-Investment Forum and Expo on Thursday. The event was hosted under the theme ‘Investing in Vision 25 by 2025’ which seeks to reduce the regional food import bill by 25 percent by 2025 through fostering accelerated and targeted investment in agriculture and food production and its business ecosystem within CARICOM member states.
Outlining his concern for the future as it regards food security, Skerrit said, “If we do not concretise the recommendations in this 25 by 2025 and beyond initiative and we as current leaders, I believe that there is political will to allow it to happen, the private sector must come on board and not display a rush to profits and believing that you can get cheaper produce from outside (the region) in larger quantities and you flood the markets…”
The Prime Minister also urged consumers to become more open to products manufactured in the Caribbean, rather than rely on foreign produce with the belief that regional goods cannot match the quality coming from elsewhere.
He said, “Let us all join forces. It’s not going to happen only because of us and it’s not going to happen by us only as political leaders of these islands. Everyone of us are the consumers, we cannot as consumers talk about agriculture and what government is doing for agriculture and then we take our trolleys and we go to the supermarkets and we look for the foreign produce, that we believe that the beef from elsewhere is not comparable to the beef coming from Guyana.”
Skerrit urged that the decision was critical in reducing the Region’s food import bill, which stands at almost US$6 billion annually.
“We, if each of us here, and those who are listening to us, the millions who are listening to us in the Caribbean region, were to make a decision today that we are supporting Caribbean produce, we would solve our problem. We would solve the problem, notwithstanding, and then you would put political pressure on these leaders to remove all the barriers that they have in the country, because you would be saying to them, I do not want any ginger coming from a country that doesn’t have land, I want Dominica ginger. And let us have it recognised on the supermarket shelves. Let us pass regulations to force the supermarkets to put CARICOM produce,” he urged.
The Head of State was proud to tell the conference delegates that his government has a strict policy when it comes to supporting Caribbean goods, as the country only imports sugar and rice, for example, from Guyana. Similarly, he said the country’s flour only comes from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, even though the price may be heftier than if purchased from foreign countries. “We are cushioned because we understand that if we can keep the dollars in the Caribbean Region, it’s gonna [going to] benefit Dominica eventually and if each of us adopt that attitude then our presence here in Guyana going forward would be a good success,” Skerrit assured.
The regional event brought leaders from the Caribbean together between May 19 and 21 to foster discussions on future agriculture partnerships, as they seek to reduce the region’s reliance on foreign goods. It also gave local farmers and regional suppliers an opportunity to market their goods and services and develop possible business relations.
The need for the initiative was highlighted specifically as strains from the COVID-19 pandemic affected the global supply chains. The burden was then heightened as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has led to a global shortage of baby formula for example.
Participating countries in this year’s event included Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Bahamas and the host country, Guyana.
Jun 25, 2022Guyana’s Trevon Prince is through to the boys under20 800m finals which is scheduled for today at the National Stadium in Jamaica. Prince is competing at the Jamaica National Trials which is being...
Kaieteur News – While walking with my dog, I lost the keys to my car on the Eve Leary beach one evening in last week.... more
Kaieteur News – Guyana passed into law a Local Content Act. Among the aims of the legislation was the prioritising... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]