“Linking the Caribbean for Regional and Nutrition Security and Rural Development” is the theme under which the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture is being held under this year.
The Caribbean Week of Agriculture which began in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago has been held annually (except for 2002, 2004 and 2009) since then in many Caribbean States. Insight will bring you daily coverage of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture from Friday 4th – the 9th October as we follow sessions that span Agricultural and Rural Development issues in the Region, Food Security Policies and action plans as Caricom’s Council for Trade and Economic Development Officials also meet during the CWA.
(by Nazima Raghubir)
Promoting food security with the aim of having a “hunger free Caribbean by 2025” was among the messages this morning when media workers across the region gathered at the Convention Centre in Georgetown, Guyana for a workshop. The workshop which opened this morning under the theme “Inclusive Evidence Based Coverage of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Caribbean” is being held as part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture by the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) along with the Association of Caribbean Media Workers. Guyana’s Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy was at the occasion, emphasising the need for more information with an aim to promoting agriculture and rural development issues. He spoke of what he believed to be a void in reporting on agriculture related issues in the region.
“The average Caribbean citizen is unaware of the Jagdeo intitaive and its importance to the Caribbean.”
The Jagdeo Initiative is a regional strategy aimed at promoting and advancing agriculture policies across the region. It was crafted by Former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo but much of its proposal and recommendations aimed at promoting food security in the region are yet to be fully realised.
Dr. Ramsammy stressed that there is a significant lack of information available on the initiative. The Minister opined that, from his vantage point, coverage is “marginable at its best” adding that “the authorities themselves don’t talk about it”
Awareness of the initiative was also likened to that of the Economic Partnership Agreement which the Minister believes “the average citizen is unaware of”.
Recognizing the importance of the media workshop to promote coverage of the agriculture issues was Maurice Wilson of CARDI.
“Constantly we have underestimated in many ways the overriding importance of agriculture…it is linked to health, manufacturing, provides food to the mining sector…”
Agriculture has been described as not attractive enough to for media coverage but Wilson argues that it is important enough to warrant coverage. He contends that, “We collectively must make agriculture a significant important element in our lives… and bring it to the attention of all the stakeholders that matter”
Thierry Doudet of the CTA noted that the media workshop can be used to strengthen reporting on Agriculture and Rural Development Issues. The CTA is known for its technical capacity that has been able to provide specialized information on a range of issues including agriculture, climate change and food and nutrition.