Greater Georgetown, Guyana – A wide cross-section of experts will start the process of formulating a food and nutrition policy for the Caribbean when they meet in Guyana this week.
The meeting takes place November 30 – December 1st 2009 in the form of a workshop and is being coordinated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).
Support to the formulation of a food and nutrition policy for the Caribbean is one of two part of a key component of a wider food security project “Promoting CARICOM/CARIFORUM Food Security”. The Project is being implemented in the Caribbean by the FAO and is funded by the Government of Italy.
The project aims are twofold. One aspect deals with the development of agricultural commodities across their value chains as it seeks to increase the overall value and quality of food from production to consumption. The second aspect of the project focuses on strengthening the capacity of the Region’s policy makers to formulate and implement national and regional policies for Food and Nutrition Security. The is the prime reason for the Workshop. The strengthening of regional capacity is expected to extend beyond this initial workshop.
For Caribbean countries, food security and sustainable development were identified back in 2007 by CARICOM Heads of Government as the main pillars of the Regional Transformation Programme for Agriculture (RTPA).
Critical to this is the alleviation of the key binding constraints to agriculture, as identified by the Jagdeo Initiative. Caribbean countries are of the view that by alleviating the key binding constraints to agriculture, and the provision of adequate budgetary support, producers and agriculture policy experts can positively impact on achieving higher levels of food security in their countries and in the Region as a whole.
The need to ensure food security for the Caribbean was even more recently brought into focus by the continuing rise in food and agricultural prices, the far-reaching implications of the financial crisis and the structural changes to traditional Caribbean agricultural exports. These developments have served to underscore the importance and evolving food security situation in the Caribbean.
The two day workshop which will bring together stakeholders of the public and private sector to share knowledge, experience and opinions on the salient food security issues facing the Region. The institutional, socio-economic and political factors impacting on food and nutrition security will be discussed with a view to determining additional analyses or activities to be undertaken as part of the process. The key output of this workshop would be an outline of a course of action and timetable geared to produce, implement and fund a Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition Security (RPFNS).
The outcomes of the Workshop will directly feed into a detailed agenda and operational plan to complete the policy formulation process. This process will be used to draft the policy document(s), setting-out the food security objectives and priorities and a clear specification of the strategy, policy measures and programmes to achieve the specified goals.