Guyana on target with goals to improve nutrition, curtail hunger – President

Georgetown, GINA, June 5, 2013

With Guyana gaining the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO’s) recognition for achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to curtail hunger and improve nutrition, President Donald Ramotar believes Guyana is doing the right thing, and disclosed that the country will be conferred an award in Rome, later this month for its  outstanding success in this regard.

“Guyana is one of 17 countries out of 189 countries that is being recognised by the FAO which works of not only achieving the Millennium Development Goal as far as cutting hunger is concerned, but we are only one of 17 countries that have actually improved nutrition, so there must be something we are doing right to have achieved this,” President Ramotar said.

President Donald Ramotar speaking at on the occasion of World Environment Day

The Head of State was at the time speaking at a function organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Environment in observance of World Environment Day 2013 at Umana Yana.

The achievements can be credited to past and ongoing efforts at investing in the expansion of food production to ensure supply, adequacy and price affordability. Among them is the $500 million allocation this year for the establishment of a farmers’ fertiliser and planting material facility which will boost and strengthen food production and reinvigorate the ‘Grow More’ Food campaign.

A section of the gathering that included President Donald Ramotar, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud and members of the Diplomatic Corps at Umana Yana for World Environment Day

“Think, Eat and Save” is the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, which President Ramotar said is most appropriate. He referred to a report presented in the British Parliament recently showing 30 to 50 percent of food produced in the world being wasted, and 30 percent of the world population being undernourished.

“While we have to eat… at the same time it is important that we do not waste. Waste is a terrible thing, it’s alarming… the impact on our children is even more devastating… figures in 2010 show that 170 million children under five (years old), that is 26 percent of the world’s children suffer from stunting lack of growth. That comes fundamentally because of the lack of food,” President Ramotar said.

Participants at today’s forum heard about the number of persons facing hunger and starvation in the world, the quantity of natural resources that is lost and the social and environmental impact of wasting food.

As “custodians of the planet” the participants were advised to take responsible actions by minimising their footprint as well as “foodprint” on the environment.

United States Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt lauded the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment for staging a walk last Sunday in honour of World Environment Day and urged that citizens be more proactive instead of giving lip service.

Exhibits on display at Umana Yana during World Environment Day

He was particularly pleased at past interventions like the nationwide “Pick It Up” campaign launched last year, involvement of the religious community, schools, private sector groups and the parliamentary resolution to work together in solving environmental challenges.

Last year Ambassador Hardt joined a team of diplomats at the launch of Guyana Shines, a successful initiative that attracted a wide cross section of stakeholders, encouraging unity among communities to address littering.

A documentary on Guyana Shines was slated for premiering this afternoon at the Theatre Guild, Ambassador Hardt said.

Concerns about the frequency and intensity of natural disasters being faced in North America and Central Europe, including the fact that human action has been the culprit were also addressed today.

As the issue becomes more alarming, and world leaders see the need to take urgent action, President Ramotar offered Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as a model solution.

The strategy spearheaded by former President Bharrat Jagdeo places the country’s rainforests at the centre of a partnership that has so far seen the country receiving payments of up to $115M for sustainable development practices.