Monday, June 21, 2010

Food Bill of the Caribbbean

Food In - Security ?
Guyana the Bread Basket of the Caribbean, the Caribbean - a self-sufficient body - how many times have we heard that? Yet the region food import bill is pegged at US$3 billion annually! 
Leaders after leaders have made promises to aid in the reduction of the food import bill and promised to open the regional market and reduce trade barriers but to date nada!  
The Jagdeo Initiative - What’s that?
The Regional grouping Caricom placed agriculture on its agenda more than three years ago when Climate Change was being flown around the world to scare conglomerates and energy giants into returning monies to governments under a cloak of reducing emissions. 
The result of these series of regional meetings? Nada 
In fact, the International American Development Bank had pledged more than US$500 Million to address the food crisis and promote agriculture.
There were at least 20 projects that could have been had to date but right now that’s nada! 
Despite these monies from the Bank, several Agri-based bodies seem cash strapped- CARDI for example- the Caribbean Agri. Research and Development Institute has not churned out any massive turn around plan to promote agriculture and it doesn’t seem that it will any time soon. The University of the West Indies is not agriculture inclined and as the Region’s University has not promote food growing or the need for food security.
The IICA is another story. 
The only plausible move the Region’s governments’ have succeeded with as they address food security was the 2 year suspension of duties on milk and meat and that it about to be up! 
Is Jamaica interested in reviving rice? 
Will Trinidad, start a grow more food drive and till the sugar land again? 
What about Barbados, corn and provisions? 
Time will tell but for the mean time prepare to pay another US$1 Million on the food import bill in the next year.

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