(by Nazima Raghubir)
There continues to be calls for more national allocations in the agriculture sector. These calls intensified as Caribbean Week of Agriculture ended this week in Guyana.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation parliamentarians must cooperate nationally, regionally and globally if national goals are to be achieved.
FAO Representative Dr. Deep Ford in his presentation at a workshop on Hunger, Food security and Malnutrition in the Caribbean on Tuesday advised that there is a need for public/private partnership to tackle issues that prevent the region from feeding itself. Among his recommendations are for more budgetary allocations to agriculture at national levels.
In 2013 the FAO found that Bahamas allocated some 0.87% of it’s budget to agriculture, Jamaica allocated 1.13%, Guyana 5.3%’ Suriname 2.83%, St.Lucia 2.7%, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 4.3% and Trinidad and Tobago allocated some 1.09% of it’s national budget. Among Dr. Ford’s other recommendations is that several issues Among Dr. Ford’s other recommendations is that several issues be made priority for the region to achieve food and nutrition. Security. These include coherent and coordinated policies and actions and ensuring there are efficient, effective, transparent and accountable institutions.
Dr. Ford’s presentation on Tuesday preceded that of International Consultant John Lewis who identified transportation as a major challenge as he recommended more collaboration and implementation of policies by regional governments.
Assistant Secretary General of Caricom Dr. Douglas Slater would later address the issue of transportation in the region saying that high cost of regional air and sea transportation needs to be addressed.
At the opening of Caribbean Week of Agriculture, Dr. Slater said that it is not possible to deliberate on agriculture in the region without looking at the “still vexing issue of transportation in all its dimensions” In July this year, following the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting there was the establishment of a Transportation Commission to address the transport woes of the region.