Below are our contributions for Question Two:
“Can you tell us about policies that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture?”
We all know that policies can either depress or improve economies, to begin with it must be highlighted that in Guyana, Agriculture accounts for 32% of GDP AND 37% of export earnings. Additionally, Guyana is the only CARICOM country that enjoys food security. In our approach to this question we have incorporated a few policies implemented in Guyana that has led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture.
The FAO predicts that agricultural production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed a population of some 9 billion people. And climate models predict a much more uncertain climate in the next several decades. Extreme weather patterns can also become more severe which may lead to the consequences of more volatile food production and food prices. As a result our Region cannot afford to be complacent and has to be more proactive than reactive.
1) As of recent CARICOM has endorsed the Jagdeo Initiative led out of Guyana, which was created to respond to the stabilization of Caribbean food prices and ensuring easy accessibility to sufficient nutrition for the region. And by extension to promote the expansion of the community’s agricultural sector as well as ensure its sustainability. For example, in Guyana the “Grow More Food” campaign has gained prevalence and the Agricultural Ministry has developed a 10 year Food and Nutrition Security that will address availability, affordability, nutrition and stability. This campaign is still ongoing and the Ministry Of Agriculture is encouraging all households to have a kitchen garden in their backyards.
The Ministry has also implemented several other projects aimed at the diversification and modernization of agriculture so as to reduce the sectors’ dependency on traditional crops while enabling the sector to gain global competitiveness.
i. The Agricultural Export Diversification programme (US$21.9M) - this programme was also launched in 2009 and aims to increase Guyana’s export growth rate and reduce volatility. The programme comprises four main components: promotion of private sector entrepreneurship in agribusiness; improving agribusiness export and facilitation services; strengthening agricultural health and food safety services; and rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation systems.
ii. The Agricultural Support Services Programme (US$22M) – aims to increase rural incomes by increasing the efficiency of the agricultural production.
iii. Rural Enterprise Development Project (READ) - is a six year project started in 2009. Some objectives include; to strengthen linkages between rural producers and service providers involved in the production and diversification efforts; and to integrate improved technologies in the production and marketing supply chain for agricultural and non-agricultural based enterprises. (US$6M)
iv. Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (US0.65M) – the objectives of this programme are to increase rice and beans production in the Hinterland Communities of Guyana. Since the Amerindian Communities have a high incidence of food insecurity, the project directly targets food security in the area. To date 82 acres of land has been planted with rice and beans and a bond has been constructed for storing equipment, machines and chemicals. A further 75 acres of land is expected to be cultivated by the end of 2010.
2) In 2009 the CARICOM Heads of Government signed the Liliendaal Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security which was in recognition for the vital multi functional role agriculture plays for regional development. Regional action in agriculture is the priority of the Declaration with focus placed on CARICOM Agriculture Policy and Regional Strategic Plan. It focuses particularly on Food and Nutrition Security in the context of the 2007/2008 food crisis which highlighted the urgent need to maximize Regional agricultural production to meet food security and nutrition needs, it also addresses poverty alleviation, income and employment generation and ultimately the Region’s need to ensure that Agriculture is seen as the “real” wealth generator.
These are just some Policies/programmes that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture and are still ongoing in Guyana.
We Thank You.