By Stacy Carmichael-James
Guyana has a “golden opportunity” with support from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to set an example as it relates to food security and sustainable farming amidst climate change says FAO’s Country Representative Reuben Robertson.
The FAO Country representative was at the time speaking at the opening of a two-day Training of Trainers workshop on Climate Information, Early Warning Forecasts and Community-Based Early Warning Systems being held at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.
The Objectives of the Workshop include enhancing the capacity of extension and field officers on climate information and to strengthen the capacity of extension and field officers on the components of Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Community- Based Early Warning Systems (CBEWS.
Robertson told participants from the various agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) among others, that after the workshop they must be able to accurately relate what is happening in terms of climate change to the farming communities.
The FAO representative informed that a recently conducted research shows that all the gains in terms of Food and Nutrition Security and poverty enhancement have started to “roll-back” owing to the negative impacts of climate change.
The Extension and Field Officers, he noted, have an obligation not only to advise farmers on what is the most appropriate technology to produce a commodity, but they must be able to relate what is happening to the climate in the particular eco-zone and how the historical information available and delivered to the farmers on a timely basis can help them to make decisions that would sustain their livelihoods. “It is that kind of information that we are saying would be able to help us to keep the farming community out of poverty, ensure food and nutrition security and at the same time ensure that there is economic growth and development,” Robertson said.
The theme of the workshop is “Building Resilience and Sustainable Livelihood: Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management/Disaster Risk Reduction in the Agriculture Sector in Guyana.
What this simply means, Robertson said, is that a more targeted, focused approach and accelerated pace at which the services are delivered are critical.