• Today
    August 03

  • 04:12 PM

FAO: Work towards food security, survival

GERCINE CARTER, gercinecarter@nationnews.com

Added 07 May 2020


Julio Berdegué, FAO regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean. (Internet image)

Julio Berdegué, the Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, has advised the Caribbean to pay attention to its macro-economic development and to implement policies that will ensure food security and survival through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking during the fifth FAO-COVID-19 and Food Systems series of webinars today, Berdegué said the FAO was worried about the region’s dependency on tourism, its level of external debt and how this would affect the capacity of the countries to import the food that they need.

He added the FAO has been developing briefs and round tables to support the countries on their policies, and said consideration had to be given to the level of  unemployment generated because of the collapse of tourism. He also suggested the region should ensure the level of food production to enable farmers to harvest what they could harvest and plant what they could.

Chief economist and assistant FAO director general, Maximo Torero Cullen, projected a six per cent GDP loss for the Caribbean as a result of the pandemic and called for urgent attention to social protection programmes.

Panelist Joseph Cox, CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General For Trade and Economic Recovery, noted the Caribbean had already spent four per cent of GDP on containing the COVID-19 outbreak, and said the region had to be bold in addressing the aftershocks of the crisis. Cox also outlined the conditions and criteria for safe reopening of the economy.

Minister of Agriculture of St Vincent and the Grenadines and chair of CARICOM Agriculture Sector, Sabato Caesar, underlined the importance of private sector engagement and pointed to the CARICOM Agrifoods Task Force. He said there were already programmes in place for ramping up domestic production, but said the movement of food intra-regionally was one of the issues that must be addressed to be facilitating.


Download the Telegram app from the App Store or Play Store and sign up for new alerts at this link.

Join Nation News on Telegram




Dos and Donts

Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus


Is enough done to mark Emancipation Day in Barbados?