Bridgetown, Barbados – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and some of its partners are set to deliver multiple presentations on topical issues affecting the region at Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) scheduled to be held at the Breezes Resort and Spa in The Bahamas from October 9 to 13 2023, under the theme, Accelerating Vision 25 by 2025”. The high-level event is being planned and led by the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM).
The first presentation during the five-day exhibition will see Dr Renata Clarke, FAO’s Subregional Coordinator lead the high-level round table discussion on Achieving Resilience and Sustainable Natural Resource Management in the Face of Climate Change and other external shocks, on Wednesday, October 11, from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM. Featured speakers are Roberto Sandoval, FAO’s Emergency Focal Point and Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Kent Nnadozie and Raymon Van Anrooy, both from FAO’s headquarters in Rome and Berend van de Kraats from OceansX of South Holland. This session will feature key solutions for the Caribbean to consider in response to the ever-evolving climate change impact and natural disasters on Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Affordability of a Healthy Diet concerns many persons and stakeholders in the Caribbean. A panel discussion and workshop featuring Maxime Luciene, FAO’s Statistician, Shaun Baugh, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Richard A. Blair, Ministry of Agriculture, Guyana, Daniela Godoy, Policy Officer, FAO Regional Office and Anna Herforth, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) will be held on Wednesday, October 11 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. This session will introduce a tool for monitoring the cost and affordability of a healthy diet in the Caribbean so as to better inform food and nutrition policies and programmes.
The FAO-led Round Table Session on Developing Efficient and Inclusive Value Chains will take place on Thursday, October 12 from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Melvin Medina, FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Officer, Michele Bruni of Inspira Farms Limited, Damian Malins of Fera Science Limited, and John Morris of 17 Asset Management will be the main speakers. The main objective of this session is to showcase to the region high-impact solutions that could improve the efficiency, sustainability, and viability of value chains.
FAO is also collaborating with the CARICOM Secretariat to lead the Youth Dialogue on October 10 from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM. The forum will feature presentations by Dr Carla Barnett, Secretary General for CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Renata Clarke, and the Youth Farmer of the Year. The CARICOM Youth Advisory Council members will talk about issues such as entrepreneurship for social impact and income creation, as well as capturing ideas that will see agriculture transformation through digitization. One of the session’s main results will be a plan for fostering and retaining young people’s interest in the agricultural sector.
On Tuesday, October 9, a dedicated joint agency session on Digitizing the Future of Caribbean Agriculture which will be led by Nikola Trendov, FAO’s Digital Agriculture Specialist. This session is in collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and will showcase cutting-edge solutions provided by Caribbean-based digital agriculture businesses and enable participant interaction and idea sharing.
Strong public-private sector collaborations are required to drive the reforms in the food systems in order to reduce the region’s food import cost by 25% by the year 2025, according to Vermaran Extavour, the FAO’s Value Chain Expert who has been driving the organization’s preparations. Our participation and delivery during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2023 is a testament to this.
Dr Renata Clarke, FAO’s Sub-regional Coordinator stated that CWA is an important platform for the organization to support the transformation of the agri-food systems in the Caribbean as hunger and food insecurity are rising continuously. She stated, “This is a critical moment for addressing deficiencies in the agri-food systems in the Caribbean, and that is our focus through our presentations with our team and partners”.