Caribbean must produce more food, Caricom official says

There is  greater need for the Caribbean region to produce an increasing share of the food it consumes, says Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration.

In remarks Wednesday at the opening of the Second Meeting of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors at the Caricom Secretariat, Turkeyen, the Assistant Secretary-General noted the “unfurling globally worrisome events” and urged that the region address its national and regional food security goals, a press release from the Caricom Secretariat stated.

“What we can say with certainty is that there is greater need for us to produce an increasing share of the food we consume and we must ensure that our people have access to that food we produce,” he was quoted as saying.

Among the challenges to food production and plant health, LaRocque said, were the new and economically or environmentally damaging plant pests, diseases and invasive species. And in that regard what was important, he added, was cooperation among member states and funding agencies in the field of research on the levels of risks plant pests posed and their detection and identification in order to prevent, contain or minimize their impact.

He said that among the challenges facing the meeting would be to continue to assess the international, regional and national environment and to strategize on how to minimize the threats posed by thousands of plant pests and diseases which impact on food security.

He also noted the need to make recommendations for adoption of regional and national policies in coordinating common approaches to manage existing and emerging threats in the context of intra and extra regional trade and to improve on the approaches to ensuring the sustainability of this forum.

According to the release, the agenda of the two-day meeting included the presentation of summary reports of the technical working groups on Giant African Snail, Red Palm Mite, Tephritid Fruit Flies, and Palm Pest Complex as well as deliberations on initiatives of regional institutions for this year and discussions on strengthening human resource capacity.

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