Agri. Minister asks FAO to make financing ‘equally available’ for indigenous people, small farmers

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Cognisant of the devastating effects of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDs), Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha has underscored the need for financing to be equally available for indigenous people and small farmers across the Caribbean region.

The minister’s call was made during the 37th Session of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO’s) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in Quito, Ecuador where new strategies to combat climate change were shared.

“We would like to see a reference of a financial mechanism that makes resources readily and equally available for smart, small adaptive, and unformed research targeting small farming communities and indigenous people,” Mustapha urged.

With the effects of climate change already seen and experienced, the Agriculture Minister noted that the world has arrived at the point where “strong decisions” need to be made on what is necessary to move forward.

His remarks were also supported by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Saboto Caesar who urged that even more time, money and effort are critical to developing an apt climate strategy for SIDs.

On that point, Mustapha supported Caesar’s call for a marine resources survey to be conducted for SIDs in the region.

It involves the inspection, survey or examination of marine vessels to assess, monitor and report on their condition and the products on them, as well as inspection of the damage caused to both vessels and cargo.

According to Mustapha, this can be crucial to alleviating poverty.

“Such a survey is very important for us in the region because the blue and green economy in these parts of the world contributes significantly to poverty reduction so that is something we should consider,” the minister added.

Guyana like other nations across the Caribbean has been working to improve its agricultural capacity and food security through initiatives like the shade house project for high-value crops and the corn and soya bean Ebini project.

But Minister Mustapha noted that with the problems brought on by climate change, only SIDs are “taking the major risks.”

In this regard, he called on the FAO to adopt stronger measures that will help to alleviate the impacts of the global issue.

“We cannot allow one or two countries to dictate the pace of our way forward; we are living in these times, and we are living in these vulnerable places and we know what we are experiencing, and we are now appealing that the FAO to take a stand,” he added.

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