Collective action must be taken to ensure Region is food secure – Min. Mustapha

  • during high-level CELAC meeting

Earlier today, during the second ministerial meeting of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC), Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha underscored the importance of ensuring the Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Plan addresses challenges and other international occurrences facing the region.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while addressing the high-level CELAC meeting earlier today

The hybrid meeting saw Ministers of Agriculture and other high-level officials from Latin America and the Caribbean discussing topics relating to its FSN Plan.

While noting that the statistics as it relates to food security in Latin America and the Caribbean are quite alarming and that the vulnerability of the region to global crisis and climate change has the potential to make the food security issue in the region worse, Minister Mustapha said it was important for the Member States to take collective action towards ensuring the Region is food secure.

“Updating this FSN Plan is one step, but even more important will be the implementation of the Plan. The increasing gender gap in food insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean must be expeditiously addressed. Projects being implemented to address the issue of food security must have a focus on the inclusivity of women. For example, all of our new projects aimed at developing agriculture in Guyana target a 20% representation of women and a 35% representation of youth,” the Minister explained.

Minister Mustapha also said that Guyana supports the promotion of inclusion and empowering young people, women, and differently-abled groups through effective instruments and measures that guarantee their access to assets, resources, and financial and non-financial services” to strengthen family farming.

He further stated that, as it relates to the implementation of trade policies to promote economic inclusion, the Government of Guyana agrees with the view that Intra-regional food trade can be used as an instrument to ensure the Right to Adequate Food for a hunger-free region.

“It is to this end that policies and tangible actions are being put in place to remove non-tariff barriers and through bilateral cooperation with Barbados particularly with the Guyana-Barbados Food Terminal being established which will help food to be moved across the Region,” Minister Mustapha added.

With adequate financing playing a major role in the implementation of the FSN Plan, Minister Mustapha said that public investment in food security and nutrition by every member state was critical.

“For the FSN Plan to be implemented adequate financing is necessary. With the FSN Plan being implemented at the national and regional levels there must be public investment in food security and nutrition by every member state. Further, Governments must encourage private investment in areas along the food value chain that will contribute to more food being available and accessible. The Region must collectively lobby for increased funding from international development partners given the region’s vulnerability and the impact that the effects of that vulnerability have already had on food security in the Region,” he added.