(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) With renewed emphasis on agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security in the Region and to spur development, the sector is finally getting the recognition it deserved, His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana said on Wednesday.
He was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2013, being hosted in Georgetown under the theme `Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development’. The formal opening ceremony was held at the Guyana International Conference Centre where the CWA activities, including an exhibition and trade show, are based. The CWA has attracted wide participation from across the Caribbean, and from as far as the Pacific and Canada.
“The wide participation (at the CWA) tells us that agriculture in the Region is finally getting the recognition that it deserves because when we look around the world and hear about the great challenges … one of them is the question of food, we cannot solve that problem without a good, strong agriculture (sector) in our own Region as well,” the President said.
He called for a change of the image of agriculture and pointed out that the agriculturalists of today and tomorrow had to be more educated, using more science and technology to farm and to produce more food.
“We have a lot to do to satisfy our needs in the Region,” he told the packed auditorium, and added that he was happy that the Jagdeo Initiative, which addresses the key binding constraints to agriculture in the Region, was “beginning gradually to come to reality”.
Mr. Michael Hailu, Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), also referred to the need to change the old thinking of agriculture. What was necessary, Mr. Hailu said, was the raising of the profile of agriculture, a quest his organization was pursuing.
Noting the challenges the Region faced, he called for those challenges to be turned into opportunities for agriculture.