Min. Mustapha says “single shared vision” needed to protect Caribbean Agriculture & Food Systems

Given the increasing impacts climate change continues to have on the regional agriculture sector, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha said there needs to be a single shared vision and coordination of efforts toward sustainable change to protect the Caribbean’s agriculture and food systems.

Minister Mustapha was at the time delivering remarks at the Meetings of the Americas on Climate Change and Agriculture.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and IICA’s Country Representative Wilmot Garnett during the meeting

In his address, Minister Mustapha said agriculture in the Caribbean and around the world is under threat as a result of the adverse effects of climate change.

“We cannot overlook the urgency of increasing the climate resilience of the agriculture sector. If we do, our objectives of enhancing productivity and production, food security, economic growth, and improving livelihoods will not be possible. Given the Caribbean region’s increased vulnerability to natural disasters due to the effects of climate change, and the threat it places on agricultural production and food security, urgent action is needed to protect the Caribbean’s agriculture and food systems. This requires a more integrated approach, a single shared vision, and coordination of efforts towards sustainable change,” the minister noted.

The Agriculture Minister also said that de-risking of the regional agricultural sector is critical to moving the sector forward.

“Developing financial instruments such as weather-related insurance products, along with additional, layered approaches to disaster risk financing at the national level was one of the areas of focus posited during the Caribbean Regional Dialogue on Food Systems which was held in May 2021. The de-risking of the regional agricultural sector through the provision of alternative sources of financing and insurance products for the region based on the peculiarities of each Member State is critical to moving the sector forward.

A section of the Leaders of teh Americas during the meeting

“The CARICOM Special Ministerial Taskforce on Food Production and Food Security, which was established to guide the transformation of the Regional Agri-Food Systems towards full commercialization, will continue to work aggressively on these priority areas to improve the sustainability of the agriculture sector in the Region,” he added. 

The meeting which was held virtually was organised by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in the lead-up to the Ninth Summit of the Americas scheduled for June 2022.

The Summit will provide an opportunity for leaders to engage in high-level dialogue to jointly address the urgent need to transform the agriculture sector in response to climate change, while meeting other sector goals. Leaders will also be able to work together to identify appropriate mechanisms for joint action, and seek opportunities to channel technical and financial resources towards transforming the sector in the face of climate change.