Caribbean women speak up for positive change in food security and agriculture

All participants agreed that as governments develop longer-term economic stimulus packages to help societies recover from the pandemic.


On 12 May, the Grassroots Indigenous and Traditional Women Agents for Change in the Caribbean organized a webinar to address major issues that affect and shape the lives and livelihoods of women in the Caribbean. Voices for Change in the Caribbean was hosted by the Maron Women Chamber of Cooperation, the Merikin Heritage Foundation, and the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project. Trinidadian journalist Sheila Rampersad moderated discussions on food security and farming, crime and violence against women, health and wellness, gender and climate crisis, entrepreneurship, spiritual and cultural sustainability, water and land security.

African Studies lecturer Liseli Fitzpatrick opened the meeting by noting that the Caribbean has been affected by several virus outbreaks, which did not receive the same attention by the international community as COVID-19 because they only affected the marginalized. “Typically, in the Caribbean, multiple generations live in the same house, which increases the risk for spread of communicable diseases,” explained Fitzpatrick. “That is why these populations are among the most vulnerable and must be protected.”

Pennelope Beckles, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, echoed these sentiments, adding that “the COVID-19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities.” Ambassador Beckles stressed that “Especially in the sector of agriculture, challenges like undocumented labor, and the inability to access loans will impact smallholders and women the most.”

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