FAO Director General promotes agricultural production and hunger eradication agenda in the Caribbean
29 January 2013, Santiago de Chile - FAO Director General promotes agricultural production and hunger eradication agenda in the Caribbean.
Graziano da Silva said that the high levels of food imports in the Caribbean are not sustainable in terms of food security. He discussed the matter with the Presidents of Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Guyana, Haiti and the Secretary General of CARICOM.
The Director-General of FAO met with the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Irwin LaRocque, to advance a common agenda for the eradication of hunger and to raise food production in CARICOM countries.
In the framework of the CELAC-EU Summit, which was held in Santiago de Chile, José Graziano da Silva and LaRocque discussed joint efforts to improve food and nutrition security in the Caribbean. In particular, they discussed plans to reduce food waste and the creation of information systems of agricultural prices.
Both authorities agreed on the need for stronger efforts to fight hunger in Haiti. The Director General stressed that "FAO it is essential not only to provide assistance to the Haiti, but to strengthen the country`s resilience to natural disasters."
The FAO Director General agreed to attend the next CARICOM Conference, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago in July 2013. “The Caribbean and Central America are two priority areas for FAO action, since that's where hunger affects a higher proportion of people,” said Graziano.
According to the Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, published by FAO, hunger in the Caribbean affected 17.8% of the population in 2010-12. Despite remaining high, Graziano highlighted the enormous progress made by the Caribbean, as in 1990-92, hunger affected 28.5% of the regions inhabitants.
“The goal of both FAO and CARICOM must be zero hunger. That is the only acceptable level of hunger,” said Graziano da Silva, who discussed joint initiatives with LaRocque to improve food and nutrition security in the Caribbean, and reiterated the commitment of FAO in the fight against hunger in the region.
Zero Hunger Challenge in Antigua and Barbuda
The Director General also met with Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, to discuss the action plan of the Zero Hunger Challenge in that country. Last year, Antigua and Barbuda joined the Zero Hunger Challenge launched by Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, during the Rio +20 Summit. Graziano da Silva said that Latin America and the Caribbean was the first region to commit to eradicate hunger by 2025 as part of the Latin America and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative.
A joint FAO, IICA, WFP, ECLAC and PAHO / WHO mission visited Antigua and Barbuda with the aim of supporting the government in implementing its food security policy, and proposed a plan that was analyzed by the FAO chief and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Antigua and Barbuda has decided to say 'no' to hunger, and both FAO and the international community are giving their full support to this initiative. It's a completely achievable goal in the short term, especially if they involve the whole society in the process,” said Graziano.
FAO Director-General to visit Haiti
Graziano also met with the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, and promised to visit the island in July 2013 to strengthen the efforts to combat hunger.
Graziano said that, last Sunday, during his meeting with Raul Castro, President of Cuba (a nation that became President Pro-tempore of CELAC) both FAO and CELAC called on the international community to maintain and increase support for Haiti. On the occasion, President Castro said that, “the food situation in Haiti is a continental problem that all countries should support in solving.”
According to FAO, Haiti is the country of the region that suffers the greatest food insecurity, since the prevalence of hunger reaches 44.5%.
Meeting with President of Guyana
Graziano da Silva held a working meeting with the President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar. On occasion, both authorities highlighted the important role of family farming to reduce dependence on food imports. In this regard, they stressed the potential of Guyana as a supplier of food for the entire Caribbean.
The Director General of the FAO and the President of Guyana agreed on the importance of promoting an agenda within CARICOM that will improve production and food trade between Caribbean countries.
Juan Jose Toha - FAO Officer
Phone: (56-2) 9514 7688
E-mail: Juan.Toha @ fao.org
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