Comprehensive policy framework vital to CARICOM’s food agenda – President Ali

With the Caribbean region moving towards the reduction of the high food import bill, the development of a comprehensive policy framework is critical to supporting ongoing investments.

In actuality, the masterplan should set a clear path that will significantly assist local farmers, as well as the regional trade system.

President, Dr Irfaan Ali highlighted the point as he delivered remarks during a recent joint media conference with Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley.

It’s not only about increasing the food production; it is not only about getting people involved in agriculture. It is ensuring we develop or have the right policy framework in place, to support the investments we are going to make,”Dr. Ali emphasised.

President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, during the joint press conference in Trinidad and Tobago last week

He noted that the framework must also be strengthened to aid the logistics sector across the region, which he noted, is important to advancing the food security agenda.

To this end, the head of state pointed out that collaboration has commenced between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago relative to food security.

The two states have merged their efforts in several areas to prevent any future food shortages.

“We are combining our commitment to removing the barriers, combining the access and the use of technology, combining our education, and research and development systems into one integrated whole, in advancing the food production plan of Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana…”Dr. Ali stated.

For example, he disclosed that the tourism ministers of both countries will be pursuing a path that will see the development of new products for existing markets.

He said the investments must be thoroughly assessed and bring tremendous benefits to the region.

The collaborations, the president highlighted, will eventually give CARICOM countries the opportunity to collectively and effectively work towards meeting the 25 per cent by 2025 goal. 

Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 22. The agreement was inked by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd and his Trinidadian counterpart, Dr Amery Browne.

The pact provides for renewed and enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.

It is also expected to address non-tariff barriers and other impediments to the flow of goods and services, while pursuing enhanced cooperation in agriculture and food security, energy, infrastructure, security, tourism, education, sport and culture.

Additionally, the agreement is anticipated to enhance the sustainable development of both countries and advance the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

President Ali has repeatedly outlined the numerous investment opportunities in Guyana, specifically in the food sector. He reminded that Guyana has acres of fertile lands, and an abundance of fresh water which are important in the food production system.

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