Barbados, April -- The Government of Barbados and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today signed an agreement establishing the Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean. It will serve Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The agreement establishing the FAO office in Barbados was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Billie Miller and FAO Sub-regional Representative Lawrence A. Wilson.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Wilson said, "The establishment of the FAO Caribbean Sub-Regional Office is an institutional recognition of the needs of the Caribbean and a resulting redeployment of resources to the sub-region in order to bring the central thrust of FAO closer to the countries concerned."

The office will employ a staff of 19, including multi-disciplinary team of 9 scientists working in Policy Assistance, Agricultural Education and Extension, Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Forestry and National Resource Management and Fisheries.

The recent establishment of sub-regional offices in North Africa, East and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Islands, and now in the Caribbean, is a major thrust of the decentralization policy of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.