PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders are actively working on an action plan to boost agriculture in the region, Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali said Thursday.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the two-day 32nd Intersessional Meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government, Ali said there was an extensive discussion on agriculture in the context of food security, commercialisation and mainstreaming the region’s agricultural output.
He said that would be done through the formulation of a national and regional policy.
“The discussions were aimed at looking at the entire value chain in terms of creating wealth, creating business opportunities, whilst at the same time improving our capacity and our output, and making agri-business sustainable for the Region and moving towards greater food security,” President Ali said.
“We discussed various incentive mechanisms…. We looked at where our competitive edge and advantages are. We looked at our competitors and to see where our differentials are and how we can actually build a model that help us to negate those differentials and lead us to competitiveness.”
The president said the action plan would address breaking down barriers affecting trade in the region.
“We looked at some of the barriers affecting inter-regional trade and movement of our agricultural products and we have established those barriers and we have decided that we are going to work through a Ministerial Taskforce, the private sector organisation and through our sub-committee on the CSME [Caricom Single Market and Economy] to come up with an action plan…to identify some specific areas, some specific products — for example, the poultry industry — where we can develop a strategic approach to achieve the outcomes,” he said.
Discussions were also held on improving transportation within the region and creating an easier environment for agro-business, the involvement of young people, access to capital and looking at legislation to deal with dumping and anti-dumping measures.