Guyana/Barbados food terminal critical to reducing region’s food import bill – PM Mottley
The realisation of the Guyana/Barbados food terminal in Barbados, is critical to reducing the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. Mia Mottley said the investment in such a facility will allow for the movement of food from countries that are involved in mass agriculture production.
“We got to perfect the logistics, and we believe that the investment in the Guyana/ Barbados food terminal will be critical. We have the plans and the numbers we are working on,” the Barbadian leader stated.
She was speaking at a joint press conference with Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit on Friday, on day-two 0f the inaugural Agri-Investment Forum and Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
She said she will convene a meeting shortly with financial institutions to deliberate on the establishment of the terminal, and other projects to ensure that affordable capital is available to state entities, and private sector individuals to be able to expand production and undertake logistics.
Addressing the issue of the movement of goods and services within the region, Mottley stated that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has agreed to take the lead in this regard to see how the issue could be resolved.
“We have been talking and talking, but the opportunities simply (have) not been there, and I think that urgency of what we have been facing with inflation, particularly as it relates to food means that everybody knows that we got to get on board, and get this right.”
Prime Minister Mottley said the trade barriers within the region must also be addressed, as they have been significantly affecting the movement of produce.
“We hope that the next heads of government meeting we can go and sit down without all of the fanfares, without all of the frills and just attack the top barriers in the same way that President Ali has done for us, a clear framework to take the top 10 items that we want to be able to have total capacity to produce without importing, and we are hoping to do that in terms of industrial policy too.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Skerrit commended the Guyana Government for spearheading such a timely and important forum where practical issues are discussed and addressed.
The investment forum and expo, which is being held under the theme: “Investing in Vision 25 by 2025” has brought together CARICOM leaders and other regional stakeholders to engage in informed dialogue on how agriculture investment could be encouraged.