Guyana's Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha
CARICOM countries on Monday called for a policy to deal with rising food prices globally as they joined their Latin American counterparts in discussing the agri-food sector.
Guyana's Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha told the 37th Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that food prices had become a very important issue around the world.
Mr. Mustapha, who was elected vice-chair of the five-day conference, said the region is now looking at proposals and ways in which to bring down food prices and reduce the import bill.
"As small states, we all have to have a level playing field. We have to have access to food and food security and what we are seeing now around the world with the shortage and scarcity of food, we are seeing a growing inequality and we are seeing that there are many shocks that small countries, small island states cannot withstand and it’s causing serious economic crisis where a large part of the population cannot access three meals per day. So as a body, we have an obligation and we have to ensure that we look at all the issues that are causing us in this part of the world to have low production," he announced.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar noted that in addition to the shocks caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, the region is also grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.
Argentina's representative noted that climate change has also played a part in low agricultural output.
He said developed countries must provide financial assistance so that small states can implement initiatives to overcome the challenges and boost food security.