One day after the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) wrapped up participation in a three-day Agri-Investment Forum and Expo in Georgetown, President Irfaan Ali has expressed confidence in the support the region can receive from the Brazilian State of Roraima in achieving its food security targets and reducing the bloc’s food import bill.
To this end, Dr. Ali said he intends to take a proposal to CARICOM in which he will request that the State of Roraima be part of the Ministerial Task Force on Agriculture.
That Task Force is currently headed by Guyana but also includes representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, The Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
This comes at a time when the region has set an ambitious target to produce more food within the national borders of its 15 member states towards a larger goal of reducing the region’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.
Investors from the State of Roraima and across Brazil met a Dr. Ali, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley and other regional leaders on Saturday in Guyana’s Lethem, Region Nine where they made presentations on how they can not only be integrated into the supplying of food but also in its production.
Dr. Ali said those investors have since been invited to participate in another agriculture forum in Trinidad set for August 2022 and they have agreed to be there.
“I spoke to the Secretary of Agriculture at length yesterday and they want to be integrated not only from the supply end but also from the productive end… they want to be integrated into the vision of CARICOM…They want to be part of this and I think it is an excellent opportunity,” Dr. Ali told members of the media during a joint press conference with Dr. Rowley at State House on Sunday.
Dr. Ali said it was regrettable the media could not be present on Saturday for the presentations because of logistics issues but promised to have the investors make the presentations in the near future to the media from across the region.
“What I can say will do injustice to what we were exposed to…We want you to go there and have them do the presentation,” the Head of State said.
Dr. Ali said in the State of Roraima, which borders Lethem, Brazilians are producing a number of products including onion, soya oil, wheat and all grains necessary to help CARICOM reduce its import needs.
He said there is also an abundance of fruits being planted that can go into the productive sector.
“Everything they do on their side can be done on Guyana’s side.
“They have offered their technology, investment, partnership and commitment and in exchange, I have committed to speaking to the CARICOM heads,” Dr. Ali said.
He was particularly excited about securing embryos for the region’s Angus cattle which he said if done can double the production throughout the region in just one year.