Photo: CARICOM. The Caribbean could reduce the amount of imported food by 25% by eating more local food, says top official.

The Caribbean Community wants to reduce its food import bill by at least 25% over the next five years. So says Mr. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat.

The senior regional public servant recently says that the Covid- 19 Pandemic has further highlighted the need to ensure affordable access to food and this has led to the development of the CARICOM Covid-19 Response Agri-Food Plan or 25 in 5.

He stated the Plan has been specifically designed to treat with effective access and the optimization of production.

It also outlines the specific steps which must be taken to make sure that the health crisis does not become a food crisis.

Mr. Cox was speaking at a recent webinar facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Key to the CARICOM Agri-Food Plan is that Member States ensuring the supply chain for critical products continues uninterrupted, and look for opportunities to use local food products instead of imports.

Underpinning the 25 in 5 strategy, is the Caribbean Community Agriculture Policy (CAP).  The major pillars of the CAP are:

  • Food and Nutrition Security;
  • Sustainable Development of Natural Resources;
  • A modern Agricultural Knowledge and Information System;
  • Rural Modernization and Youth Programs; and
  • Production and Trade Value Chains Development.