“Explicit mention needs to be made of a financial mechanism that targets small farming communities and Indigenous People” – Min. Mustapha tells FAO Regional Conference

During day two of the 37th session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in Quito, Ecuador, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha stated that financial mechanisms that target small farming communities and Indigenous People need to be in place.

While commenting on the FAO’s new strategy on climate change, Minister Mustapha indicated that these mechanisms should be able to make resources readily and equally available for smart, small adaptive, and uniformed research given the effects climate change continues to have, especially on those groups mentioned above.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while delivering remarks at the 37th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We would like to see a reference of a financial mechanism that makes resources readily and equally available for smart, small adaptive, and unformed research targeting small farming communities and indigenous people. And today, when the world is being faced with the serious problem of climate change, we have seen the devastation in some countries. I think we have come to a point where we have to make a decision on what is necessary for us to move forward,” Minister Mustapha said.

These remarks came in support of comments made by St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Saboto Caesar who also maintained that more time, money, and efforts must be allocated toward developing a climate change strategy for the Small Island Developing States (SIDs) in the region, particularly the importance of the blue and green economies.

Minister Caesar noted too that some of the fundamental principles and precepts of the Samoa Pathway should be reintegrated, and called on the FAO to promote more nature-based solutions when addressing the issue of food and agriculture.

Minister Mustapha further stated that climate change continues to be a serious problem for SIDs in the Caribbean and called on the FAO to take a stand on the issue.

“My colleague from St. Vincent and the Grenadines suggested that a marine resources survey be conducted.  Such a survey is very important for us in the region because the blue and green economy in these parts of the world contributes significantly to poverty reduction.

“Today, climate change is causing serious problems within our countries in the small island developing states, especially in the Caribbean. We are so vulnerable to climate change that now, as we are working to improve our agriculture capacity, it seems as though we are taking risks because of climate change. We cannot allow one or two countries to dictate the pace of our way forward. We are living in these times and we are living in these vulnerable places. We know what we are experiencing and we are now appealing that the FAO must take strong measures and take a stand on this issue,” Minister Mustapha said.

In Guyana, the minister explained, the government has been working to combat climate change through low-carbon development by developing high potential low carbon subsectors and industries, drought and flood management, and by practicing climate-resilient agriculture with special focus on Mangrove and Coastal Ecosystem Restoration, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and crop rotation.

In this regard, Minister Mustapha added that there are several challenges that must be addressed such as the need for adequate funds to support the adaptation of such initiatives, limited access to improved climate technologies, often due to limited access to finance, and limited research and development in suitable adaptation initiatives.