GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 20, 2022 - Guyana's President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says the vision of reducing CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025 is “very realistic”, and the fact that several CARICOM Heads are attending the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo indicates that everyone believes it can be accomplished.
“There is political will, there is energy in the private sector, there is a commitment from financial institutions, donor institutions, and there is a real targeted approach to achieving this from all Heads,” President Ali highlighted while speaking to the media at the end of day one of the event.
He added that, “So not only do I believe that it is realistic, I think that it can be surpassed if we continue on this trajectory, and we have strong deadline and implementation plan.”
The Head of State said the forum is being used to get over hurdles as it relates to transport and logistics, trade barriers, technology transfer and getting young people involved in the food production system.
Other hurdles include securing financing, acquiring crop insurance, market stability and developing a system that disallows bureaucracy. President Ali said a multifaceted approach is imperative, as the region has no other option.
“I believe strongly that we are on a good platform. The outcomes of today’s engagement, the type of commitment from the donor community, from the commercial and financial institutions, the private sector and the willingness to embrace this vision is enormous,” he said.
The President noted that discussions are ongoing to have an ‘action-oriented approach’ in dealing with the challenges that may affect the vision of achieving food security for the Caribbean.
“So, there has been a lot of talk about the barriers, but I get a very strong feeling there is now a commitment based on the reality that we need to get past this,” President Ali stated.
President Ali had earlier announced that government was working to advance production of vegetables from at 324,000 metric tonnes to 400,000 metric tonnes by 2025.
The three-day agriculture event was launched on Thursday at the Natural Cultural Centre followed by the opening of the exhibition that has attracted regional and international investors.
Several CARICOM Heads of Government were also present including Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Belize’s Prime Minister and Chair of CARICOM, Hon. John Briceno and Barbados’ Prime Minister, Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, among others.