PM Mottley addressing the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo. (Photo credit: PMO Barbados)
Author: Julie Carrington/BGIS
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is warning of more disruption to the food supply into next year as a result of droughts in North America, China and other parts of the world.
Speaking to the in-person and virtual audience attending to the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo II at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Trinidad, on Friday, Ms. Mottley stressed that a reorganisation of plans beyond the medium term, is imperative.
“It therefore means that our plans cannot only be medium term plans to substitute feed, which we must do, as Guyana is planning to do under the distinguished leadership of my brother, President [Dr. Irfaan] Ali by 2025, with corn and soya production being ramped up to scale,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley continued: “We don’t have the luxury of that. Because we have a population that is feeling the vagaries and the negative consequences of rampant inflation. But inflation is going to also reinforce the fact that the lack of access is going to be there because of these droughts.”
Given this expectation, Ms. Mottley repeated the urgency for regional farmers to grow six and twelve weeks’ crops and suggested that they also focus on rearing six-weeks’ livestock to meet the needs of the region.
“None of us can avoid the reality that our people must eat. And the reality is, that there are things that we can do and that we have done in our past to ensure survival.
And we are there again. Whether it is rabbits or chickens, whether it is fishing, whether it is new forays as we are doing in Barbados in aquaculture, we have the responsibility for urgent action today,” Ms. Mottley proffered.
Since the hosting of the Guyana forum, the Prime Minister shared that regional heads had been asked to formulate a framework for financing. She added that Barbados had worked assiduously with the financiers as well as with regional and international organisations to effect this.
“We’ve written every Minister of Agriculture asking for the projects. Some have started to come in already and they’ll be loaded on the electronic dashboard that will be available for heads to see today. Also on that dashboard will be training support from CARDI…,” Ms. Mottley underlined.
Ms. Mottley also reiterated the importance of tackling the issue of air and maritime transportation, pointing out that regional heads were working on these areas, which she emphasised was a work in progress.
The Expo, which concludes on Sunday, has as its theme: Transforming Agriculture through Innovation and Investment.