The CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has approved a mechanism to help restore the agriculture of countries hard-hit by natural disasters.
It follows the devastation caused last month by hurricanes Irma and Maria in Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and Dominica and other Caribbean islands.
A release from the CARICOM Secretariat yesterday said that the Regional Agriculture Emergency Response Sub-Committee will provide prompt action to help the agriculture sector in Member States to rebound after natural disasters.
Approval of the mechanism came at the 71st Special Meeting of the COTED on Agriculture held at the CARICOM Secretariat October 6th, 2017.
The Sub-Committee will include representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD), the Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVET), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). Belize and Antigua and Barbuda will also be represented on the body.
Among the matters for which the sub-committee will have responsibility are devising protocols to safeguard human and livestock health and coordinating technical support for the recovery of sectors. The Committee will also work closely with CDEMA in mobilising resources with International and Regional Development Partners to acquire planting and other materials for quick start-up of short-term food crops and livestock production.
The release said it is more apparent that the Community’s response to natural disasters must “embrace wider adoption of innovations on Climate Smart Agriculture”. Ministers endorsed the development of a climate smart agriculture regional training programme to re-orient extension officers and members of farmers’ groups. The programme is to be developed by the University of the West Indies, the University of Guyana and CARDI, the release said.