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AFTER CHANNELLING ABOUT $24 million in support to Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) over the last five years, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is set to play a larger role in this part of the region.
That’s based on a series of recommendations issued by the FAO’s Office of Evaluation after it assessed FAO’s contribution to Barbados and the OECS between 2010 and last year.
After concluding that the international body “is uniquely positioned to contribute to the revitalisation of agriculture and the eradication of hunger in the OECS and Barbados”, the evaluation team issued a report in which it urged the FAO to “build upon the strongest elements of its former programmes and continue to prioritise [food and nutrition security], agriculture diversification, value chain development, and plant and animal health”.
“Resources permitting, the next country programmes could devote greater attention to fisheries issues and to disaster risk management,” it added.
Another recommendation was for the FAO’s value chain development projects to “pay greater attention to market forces and opportunities”.
“FAO must strive for greater continuity of engagement and more systematic follow-up of its many interventions in order to achieve a better impact; reform the national correspondent system to reflect the demands of an expanded portfolio; improve communication channels with non-agricultural sectors as well as with ‘twin islands’; and improve coordination with other partners,” the report advised
“As a leader in the rejuvenation of agriculture in the Caribbean, FAO should advocate for a reform of agriculture extension systems and for a reinforcement of producer organisations.”
It added: “FAO should strengthen its focus on youth and gender, particularly in agricultural employment and value chain development, and document results in the area of youth and gender in agriculture more systematically.
“FAO could expand its use of regional policy channels and forums, in order to achieve greater development impact, promote sustainable fisheries resource management, and help structure some of its own work (for example, in plant health).” (SC)