Leading Caribbean agriculturist Dr Arlington Chesney, executive director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), has highlighted the opportunities the Caribbean’s mainland territories such as Suriname, Guyana and Belize offer in the matter of food security.
“The region has set itself a target of 25 per cent food and nutrition security by 2015. But we can’t do that as individual countries,” Chesney said.
His comments came after a partnership arrangement between Guyana and Trinidad for the creation of a food-security facility with hopes of stimulating agricultural and livestock production, reducing dependence on foreign food imports, and stimulating, regionally, the drive for food security in CARICOM.
CARICOM, with approximately 16 million inhabitants in its 15 member states, has an annual food import bill of more than US$4 billion.
A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization study shows that, with the exception of Guyana, Belize and St Kitts and Nevis in the English-speaking Caribbean, no country has the required land mass to achieve 100 per cent food security.
Chesney said he welcomed the food-facility arrangement. He said it was important to note the land mass limitations of a majority of CARICOM countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, but said that Guyana and Suriname, with their abundant acreage, can play a crucial role in a collective regional initiative to respond to the challenge of food security.
Read more in the full article from the Jamaica Gleaner.